How to Bust Matthew Whitaker

Yesterday’s hearing before the House Judiciary Committee was a made for t.v. moment. But, besides the theatrics and disrespect and arrogance of Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker who evaded answering questions, some points were made clear and it could lead to legal issues down the road.

Whitaker Denies Talking About the Mueller Probe with President Trump

Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler, asked Whitaker if “at any point” he “communicated anything you learned in that briefing about the investigation to President Trump?”

Evasive, but eventually answering the question, Whitaker said he had “not talked to the President of the United States about the special counsel’s investigation,” nor has he “talked about the special counsel’s investigation with senior White House officials.”

Nadler has already made clear that Whitaker lacked credibility, leading to a definite future subpoena. If Nadler finds any communications, Whitaker is looking already at one count of perjury.

Whitaker, President Trump, and Michael Cohen

Over and over again, Whitaker refused to answer questions. When questioned by Rep. Val Butler Demings if there were any communications between President Trump and Michael Cohen, Whitaker went with his go-to line that he refuses to answer private conversations with Trump.

Note, while Whitaker did not claim Executive Privilege, he was asked three weeks earlier if he would in a letter from Nadler to Whitaker.

The Acting AG never answered the questions in writing from Nadler as requested and waited to the day before his scheduled testimony to confirm his voluntarily appearance.

No Interference in the Mueller Investigation

Whitaker prior to heading the Justice Department, was critical of the Mueller investigation, especially when he wrote an op-ed for CNN. One idea Whitaker had was to cut-off the funding for the Mueller probe, effectively killing the investigation.

Before the Judiciary Committee, Whitaker said “I have not interfered in any way with the special counsel’s investigation.”

“I have been on the record about my respect for Bob Mueller and his ability to conduct this investigation,” Whitaker said.

What’s Next

Nadler’s most likely subpoena of Whitaker may be the best thing to happen. Next week, it is believed that William Barr will be confirmed as the Attorney General.

If that is case, there is a good chance that Whitaker’s employment in the Justice Department ends. Barr may get rid of Whitaker just not have his prior actions fall on him. Actually, that is the prudent move.

If that’s the case, a subpoena issued to Whitaker results in him returning before the Judiciary Committee as a private citizen, without the backing of the Justice Department behind.

Some of these questions will likely result in Whitaker asserting his Fifth Amendment privilege, and that will only open to the doors to further investigations.

Alexander Hernandez
Twitter @mcatty_alex

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