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"Mr. Chairman", he said, "I see that your 5 minutes is up".

"If this is the way we're going to go, then we'll have plenty of stunts, we're going to have plenty of theatrics", he said.

Nadler went on to repeat his question, and Whitaker ultimately responded: "I have not interfered in any way with the special counsel's investigation". On those occasions, Whitaker often repeated the question - and refused to give the direct answers he was asked for. When they did ask questions about the investigation, Republicans asked whether it had strayed from the pursuit of possible crimes to targeting individuals, and whether key Justice Department officials were biased in the investigation.

Swalwell, who primarily questioned Whitaker with regard to the Mueller investigation, began by asking whether the acting AG felt as though Mueller were an honest man.

Last month, Whitaker publicly said that the Mueller probe is "close to being completed".

But Whitaker's appointment has always been a test for how Democrats will use their newfound majority to flex their oversight muscles. Whitaker's terse response was that Nadler has run out of time to ask the question.

The hearing had been teased a day earlier when Nadler threatened to subpoena Whitaker, while the DOJ threatened to boycott the hearing.

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., tried to adjourn the hearing before it started, saying it was an attempt at assassinating Trump's character.

Whitaker is likely in his final days as the country's chief law enforcement officer because the Senate plans to vote soon on confirming William Barr, Trump's pick for attorney general.

"In light of that commitment, Acting Attorney General Whitaker looks forward to voluntarily appearing at tomorrow's hearing and discussing the great work of the Department of Justice", Kupec said.

After refusing to answer her question directly, Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee paused to scold the witness: "Mr. Attorney General, we're not joking here".

In a letter to Nadler on Thursday afternoon, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote that Whitaker is prepared to testify that "at no time did the White House ask for, or did the acting attorney general provide, any promises or commitments concerning the special counsel's investigation". Whitaker on Friday declined to answer many of those questions - claiming he was reserving the right of Trump to invoke executive privilege, something the President hasn't formally done yet.

The acting attorney general said that Mueller was would finish the probe "when he wants to finish his investigation".

Cohen asked Whitaker whether he has seen any documentation alleging violations of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution when it comes to President Trump's connection to the organization leasing the building. But he did not hold back in his opening statement, repudiated Whitaker's decision not to recuse himself from the Mueller probe, despite the recommendations of Justice Department officials. But Whitaker has not appeared to take any actions with regard to the Mueller investigation, and he's left the day-to-day supervision to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was supervising the probe when Sessions was attorney general and recused himself.

Whitaker has come under scrutiny for his involvement with the invention promotion company, which was accused of misleading consumers and has been under investigation by the FBI.

For his part, Collins called the daylong hearing a "dog and pony show".


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