Jerrold Nadler, incoming House Judiciary chairman, pledges to subpoena acting AG Matthew Whitaker
The incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday renewed his promise to grill acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to ensure special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe continues unabated.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, told USA Today that the “first thing” he’ll do as chairman is as Mr. Whitaker to testify before the committee.
“We will, if we have to subpoena him and we will ask him, basically, about protecting the Mueller investigation,” Mr. Nadler told the paper.
Mr. Nadler’s comments come one day before the Democrats are set to take control of the House of Representatives. Democrats have said protecting Mr. Mueller from being fired by Mr. Whitaker or President Trump is one of their top priorities.
Mr. Whitaker has refused to recuse himself from the Mueller probe, despite a Justice Department ethics official recommend that he do so. He has also faced questions about his criticism of Mr. Mueller while working as a commentator for CNN prior to joining the Justice Department.
Among the questions Mr. Nadler intends to ask the acting attorney general is whether he “directed Mueller not to indict somebody” or not to pursue a particular line of inquiry, according to USA Today.
“Has he communicated with the White House? Has he told the White House what the Mueller people are doing?” Mr. Nadler told the paper were among his list of questions. “In other words, is he improperly interfering with the investigation.”
“And we’ll use subpoena power, if we have to, for that,” Mr. Nadler continued.
President Trump has insisted the Mueller investigation is an unjustified “witch hunt.” Last year, he ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the probe, replacing him with Mr. Whitaker.
Mr. Trump has nominated William Barr as attorney general and he now awaits Senate confirmation.