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." Brendan Morrow
As the official Republican nominee, Donald Trump will be getting a briefing by the CIA and intelligence community in the coming days. Many have already expressed concerns that Trump, who is famously no-filter when speaking, might let slip national security secrets — and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is so concerned he thinks the intel officials should give Trump an entirely fake briefing.
"How would the CIA and the other intelligence agencies brief this guy? How could they do that? I would suggest to the intelligence agencies, if you're forced to brief this guy, don't tell him anything, just fake it, because this man is dangerous. Fake it, pretend you're doing a briefing, but you can't give the guy any information," Reid told The Huffington Post.
Officials have said that both Trump and Hillary Clinton will get identical briefings to avoid favoritism or bias, though it has been suggested that Hillary Clinton will have an advantage in the briefing because her experience in foreign policy will lead her to ask more probing questions than newcomer Trump. Jeva Lange