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On Friday morning, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker told Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) that he had exceeded his five-minute time limit during a Justice Department oversight hearing, drawing gasps from the packed room.
“In your capacity as Acting Attorney General, have you ever been asked to approve any request or action to be taken by the Special Counsel?” asked House Judiciary Chair Nadler.
The Acting Attorney General, who noted that he was at the hearing voluntarily, calmly told Nadler: “Mr. Chairman, I see that your five minutes is up.”
The room erupted with reactions of groans, gasps, and snickers.
“I am here voluntarily. We have agreed to five-minute rounds,” said Whitaker, seemingly surprised by the room’s response.
Nadler, giving off a laugh of disbelief, called for a break from the hearing.
Olivia Beavers, a reporter at The Hill, posted a photo of Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) in shock over Whitaker’s response. The Democrat’s “jaw dropped when Acting AG Whitaker told the chairman his ‘five minutes is up,'” she reported.
“Lawmakers routinely go over their five minute time limits for questioning, and it is normally up to the chair to limit the proceedings,” noted The Hill. “It is very unusual for a witness to mention the time limit, and even more so for a witness to accuse the chairman of a panel of having gone over his time limit.”
Late last month, Mr. Whitaker told the press that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into so-called Russian collusion with the Trump campaign is “close to being completed.”
The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti noted, “CNN reports that Whitaker has been ‘fully briefed’ on Mueller’s investigation and that he anticipates a swift end to the probe. Whitaker added that he will urge Mueller to ‘summarize his findings’ in a simple report issued to Congress, which could eventually be made public. The official report will go directly to the Department of Justice.”
According to CNN, former Trump associate Roger Stone was “one of the last key campaign associates” to be investigated. Stone was arrested early morning on January 25 by the FBI at his Ft. Lauderdale residence.
“In video aired by CNN — which was ready on the scene to capture the exclusive footage — about a dozen FBI agents, weapons drawn and wearing combat gear, can be seen fanning out to surround Stone’s house,” reported James Barrett of The Daily Wire. “FBI. Open the door,” one agent can be heard yelling on the dramatic video. “FBI warrant!”
On November 7, President Donald Trump announced the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“We are pleased to announce that Matthew G. Whitaker, Chief of Staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice, will become our new Acting Attorney General of the United States. He will serve our Country well,” wrote Trump in a tweet. “We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date.”
….We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2018
"In your capacity as Acting Attorney General, have you ever been asked to approve any request or action to be taken by the special counsel?" House Judiciary Chair Nadler asks.
— ABC News (@ABC) February 8, 2019