House Judiciary Committee

Documents: Justice Department and Judiciary Committee Spar Over Whitaker Testimony

By Mikhaila Fogel
Thursday, February 7, 2019, 2:39 PM

On Jan. 22, Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary Jerrold Nadler sent a letter to Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker thanking him for agreeing to testify before the committee and providing a list of questions the committee planned to ask that might implicate executive privilege. Rep. Nadler requested that an affirmative decision be made on executive privilege prior to Whitaker's testimony, and stated that the committee would not accept the acting attorney general, "declining to answer any question on the theory that the President may want to invoke his privileges in the future."

On Feb. 7, the Judiciary Committee authorized Nadler to issue a subpoena to Whitaker to secure his "appearance and testimony" at the planned oversight hearing. Shortly thereafter, the Justice Department's Office of Legislative Affairs responded to Nadler, saying that Whitaker would not testify unless the Judiciary Committee would grant written assurance that Whitaker would not be subpoened on or before Feb. 8. The acting attorney general has also given a statement, saying "[b]ased upon today’s action, it is apparent that the Committee’s true intention is not to discuss the great work of the Department of Justice, but to create a public spectacle. Political theater is not the purpose of an oversight hearing, and I will not allow that to be the case.” All three documents are below.

Chairman Nadler's Letter to Whitaker

Resolution Authorization Subpoena

Department of Justice's Response

The article has been updated to include the Judiciary Committee's resolution and Acting Attorney General Whitaker's statement (Feb. 7, 2019, 3:15pm)