9:30 AM EST
by Sharon Rondeau
Live streaming is available here.
On Thursday evening, Whitaker’s appearance was in doubt based on the Democratic majority in the committee having approved Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s ability to issue a subpoena to Whitaker before or during his scheduled Friday testimony. The Justice Department objected, stating that Whitaker would not appear on Friday unless Nadler would guarantee that he would not be served with a subpoena at any point before or during his testimony.
On Thursday The New York Times reported that the committee sent a myriad of questions to Whitaker well in advance of Friday’s hearing in an attempt to ferret out questions over which the White House might claim “executive privilege.”
Democrats have been critical of Whitaker, who was appointed the day after the 2018 midterm elections upon the resignation of AG Jeff Sessions, for refusing to recuse himself from oversight of the “Russia collusion” probe being overseen by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
In May 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein hired Mueller to continue the counterintelligence probe launched by the FBI purportedly in July 2016 against the truck campaign on the theory that one or more trumpet aids “colluded” with Russian operatives to effect a Trump when over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump has denied any wrongdoing, and on Thursday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Burr said that to date, the committee has found no evidence of collusion between trumpet aids and Russians.
Conversely, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff announced Thursday that his committee would “expand” its probe into possible “collusion” as well as into President Trumps finances and business dealings prior to when he took office on January 20, 2017.
Trump is called such a move unprecedented in American history and termed it “presidential harassment.”
Whitaker’s interim service as Acting Attorney General may be coming to a close, as Attorney General nominee William P. Barr’s nomination was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, with a vote of the full Senate expected next week.