Speed Reads

zipped lips

7 questions Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker refused to answer during his House testimony

Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker repeatedly declined to answer questions from both Democrats and Republicans at a contentious congressional hearing Friday.

Whitaker opened the House Judiciary Committee hearing by saying he would be citing executive privilege in response to some questions, and he certainly lived up to that promise. Here are a few key examples:

1. When asked if he believes Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is a witch hunt, Whitaker wouldn't say, replying, "It would be inappropriate for me to talk about an ongoing investigation."

2. Asked whether he has spoken with President Trump about the Southern District of New York's investigation into his former lawyer Michael Cohen, Whitaker wouldn't say. He also wouldn't say whether he has had conversations with anyone about firing or reassigning SDNY attorneys.

3. Whitaker wouldn't say whether he has privately spoken with Mueller's team about his personal opinions about the probe.

4. Whitaker wouldn't say whether he spoke with anyone at the White House about former Attorney General Jeff Sessions' departure from the administration before it happened.

5. Asked if he ever talked with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about reports that he suggested wearing a wire to secretly record Trump, Whitaker said, "I'm not here to talk about the internal discussions" he has within the Justice Department.

6. Although Whitaker did reveal that he has not spoken with Trump about Mueller's investigation, at other points in the hearing he declined to answer similar questions, such as when he was asked whether he's spoken with "the president or parts of his legal team about information that you've learned ... related to the Mueller investigation or any other criminal investigation involving the president."

7. Asked for a yes or no answer about whether officials at the Department of Justice advised him to recuse himself from the Mueller probe, Whitaker wouldn't provide one, simply saying, "It was my decision to make."