14:57, March 05 62 0 abajournal.com

2019-03-05 14:57:05
Former Acting AG Whitaker leaves Justice Department; he agreed to clarify House testimony

Matthew Whitaker

Matthew Whitaker. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Former Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has left the Department of Justice amid criticism from Democrats over his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

Whitaker’s last day at the DOJ was Saturday, a DOJ spokesman told the Hill, Bloomberg and NBC News. According to the Hill, the spokesperson “did not expand on the circumstances surrounding his departure or his plans after leaving.”

Whitaker had been chief of staff for then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions before replacing Sessions in an acting capacity in November. William Barr was confirmed as attorney general Feb. 14.

Whitaker told the House Judiciary Committee last month that he had not interfered in the special counsel’s investigation and he had “followed the special counsel’s regulations to a ‘T.’ ”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, announced last week that Whitaker will return to clarify his testimony in a closed-door meeting, the Wall Street Journal previously reported. Nadler has said Whitaker’s answers were “unsatisfactory, incomplete or contradicted by other evidence.”

The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times have reported that President Donald Trump asked Whitaker whether Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman could be put in charge of his office’s investigation of Michael Cohen. Both articles were based on anonymous sources.

Berman had recused himself before the raid on Cohen’s home and office, and there is no sign that Whitaker complied with Trump’s request.

The committee is reportedly questioning this statement by Whitaker: “At no time has the White House asked for, nor have I provided any, promises or commitments concerning the special counsel’s investigation or any other investigation.”

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