President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House begins search for person who leaked president’s schedule: report O’Rourke to headline counter-Trump rally at border Trump touts Kim summit: North Korea will become economic ‘rocket’ MORE on Saturday ripped congressional Democrats after a tense House hearing with Acting Attorney General Matt WhitakerMatthew G WhitakerFormer senior FBI official calls Whitaker hearing ‘disgraceful’ Acting AG Whitaker: ‘Deeply concerning’ how CNN found out about Stone raid Whitaker takes grilling from House lawmakers MORE the previous day.
Whitaker appeared in front of the Judiciary Committee for nearly six hours on Friday, where he was grilled by Democrats about special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s investigation and other topics. He repeatedly refused to discuss his conversations with Trump, infuriating Democrats.
“The Democrats in Congress yesterday were vicious and totally showed their cards for everyone to see. When the Republicans had the Majority they never acted with such hatred and scorn!” Trump tweeted Saturday morning.
The Democrats in Congress yesterday were vicious and totally showed their cards for everyone to see. When the Republicans had the Majority they never acted with such hatred and scorn! The Dems are trying to win an election in 2020 that they know they cannot legitimately win!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2019
Whitaker sparred with various lawmakers during his testimony before the Judiciary panel, with Democrats peppering him with questions and blasting his responses when asked about Mueller, the administration’s separation of migrant families at the border and other topics.
At one point, the acting top cop shocked committee members and spectators alike after he told Judiciary Chairman Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerFormer senior FBI official calls Whitaker hearing ‘disgraceful’ Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to step down as CBC Foundation chair amid lawsuit Airbnb is doing the Democrats’ dirty work MORE (D-N.Y.) that his time for questioning had run out.
“Mr. Chairman, I see that your five minutes is up,” Whitaker said, drawing gasps from the panel and a packed crowd.
“I am here voluntarily. We have agreed to five-minute rounds,” he added.
Lawmakers routinely go over their five-minute time limits for questioning, and it is particularly rare for a witness to tell a committee chairman that they have gone over their time limit.
“The committee will come to order. I will point out we didn’t enforce the five-minute rule on acting Attorney General Whitaker,” Nadler responded.
Whitaker also faced a litany of pointed questions regarding his role in the special counsel’s probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow in 2016, with which he said he had not interfered.
Democratic Reps. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesFive takeaways from acting AG’s fiery House hearing Judiciary Dem asks Whitaker: ‘How the heck did you become the head of the Department of Justice?’ Whitaker takes grilling from House lawmakers MORE (N.Y.) and Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalFive takeaways from acting AG’s fiery House hearing Jayapal questions Whitaker over ‘horror’ of immigrant family separations Hannity decries Green New Deal as ‘economically guaranteed-to-be-devastating’ MORE (Wash.) raised eyebrows with their critical lines of questioning.
Jeffries asked Whitaker, “How the heck did you become the head of the Department of Justice?” while Jayapal became emotional when discussing the administration’s family separation policy at the southern border.
“Our country is still reeling from the horror of family separations that occurred at the border,” Jayapal said at the opening of her line of questioning.
“The truth is, we may not know how many children were separated from their parents.”
Trump suggested Saturday that Democrats were critical of Whitaker as part of their effort to win the presidential election next year.
“The Dems are trying to win an election in 2020 that they know they cannot legitimately win!” he tweeted.