Whitaker confirmed to appear before panel as scheduled

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House panel votes to authorize subpoena for Whitaker

A spat over a subpoena is threatening to upend House Democrats' first and perhaps only opportunity to publicly question acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker while he's in office.

The vote doesn't issue a subpoena to Whitaker but allows committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler to do so if Whitaker is uncooperative.

Acting Attorney general Matthew Whitaker says he won't appear before a House committee unless the panel drops its threat of subpoenaing him. "That deadline has come and gone. therefore I expect the acting attorney general to answer all of these questions without equivocation". He asked Whitaker to consult with the White House ahead of the hearing and tell the committee whether he would invoke privilege, though Whitaker has not responded to Nadler's letter as of Thursday morning. Whitaker said the Justice Department had devoted "considerable resources and numerous hours to my preparation" for his testimony. "Unfortunately, the Committee now has deviated from historic practice and protocol and taken the unnecessary and premature step of authorizing a subpoena to me, the Acting Attorney General, even though I had agreed to voluntarily appear".

"Political theater is not the objective of an oversight hearing, and I will not allow that to be the case", Whitaker added.

Nadler said in his statement that the committee granted him with subpoena power to show that with Democrats in power, Congress would no longer allow "government witnesses to dodge uncomfortable questions".

The questions mostly dealt with Whitaker's communications with President Trump and the White House about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and other Trump-linked DOJ probes.

Nadler said that the panel was ready to work with Whitaker to address concerns he might have about answering certain questions the hearing.

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Many Democrats have been expressing strong reservations about Whitaker, describing him as a Trump loyalist and noting how critical he has been of Mueller's Russian Federation investigation. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines Thursday to approve Barr's nomination, sending the pick to the full Senate.

He called the subpoena a breach of his deal to testify before the committee, chaired by New York Rep.

Nadler responded to the Justice Department letter by telling Whitaker that a subpoena would not be necessary if he answered lawmakers' questions, and questions he would not be able to answer would be handled on a "case-by-case basis".

"This subpoena is nothing short of political theater, choreographed by the chairman and starring the acting attorney general as some mythological protector of secrets", said Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the panel.

That upended weeks of tricky negotiations and Mr. Whitaker's agreement to appear voluntarily - and, for a time, appeared to have pushed the Justice Department to cancel Mr. Whitaker's appearance.

Boyd laid out an argument for asserting such executive privilege in the letter, saying that administration officials from both parties have declined to answer questions about conversations they have had with the president. "In a quest to score political points against the president, they authorized a pre-emptive subpoena, treating a voluntary witness as hostile".

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