Pulling a page from Barack Obama’s Justice Department, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said Thursday he won’t show up to a Friday hearing before the House Judiciary Committee if Democratic leaders don’t withdraw their threat of issuing him a subpoena for not answering some questions.
House Judiciary Chairman Jarrold Nadler (D-NY), had threatened to issue a subpoena to Whitaker if he “refuses to answer legitimate questions,” which of course will be defined by the Democratic majority.
Whitaker’s statement comes after the panel voted along party lines earlier Thursday to prep a subpoena for Whitaker, which Republicans said would set a bad precedent for future witnesses before the panel.
CNN reported that Whitaker won’t show up under the conditions of a subpoena threat.
NEW: DOJ responds to Nadler by saying Whitaker will NOT appear at Friday’s hearing unless he receives a written assurance that he will not be served with the subpoena the committee preemptively authorized to use if he avoids questions, per @LauraAJarrett https://t.co/amN7QkZkVP
— Jeremy Herb (@jeremyherb) February 7, 2019
Rather, Whitaker said he would only appear if the panel offered a written guarantee that he won’t be issued a subpoena if he refuses to answer certain questions, perhaps out of concern for ongoing investigations or if information is classified.
Nadler said he had concerns that Whitaker would not appear after a January hearing was postponed and after hearing reports that the Justice Department recommended that Whitaker not attend the hearing.
“Whitaker received written questions in advance, allowing him to consult the White House on whether there were instances where Trump wanted to invoke executive privilege. However, Whitaker never responded to Nadler,” the Washington Examiner reported.
“The resolution does not cause the subpoena to be issued,” Nadler said Thursday before the committee passed the resolution. “I hope and expect that this subpoena will not be necessary — but unfortunately, a series of troubling events over the past few months suggest that we should be prepared.”
In 2012, then-President Obama invoked executive privilege to prevent Congress from questioning then-Attorney General Eric Holder over the Fast and Furious scandal in which thousands of U.S.-purchased guns were allowed by the DoJ to cross into Mexico, ostensibly to ‘track’ them to the drug cartels. It turns out, however, that the operation was part of the Obama regime’s efforts to push for new gun controls.
Holder was held in contempt of Congress in 2012, but U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointee, refused to enforce it, claiming the House’s motion was “entirely unnecessary.”
In January 2014, GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn, chairman of the House Resources Committee grilled a Department of the Interior official, Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall, for failing to respond to subpoenas issued by his panel.
In the Trump era, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein ignored a subpoena issued by the GOP-controlled House Intelligence Committee in May 2018.
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