Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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Given the opportunity to walk back his comments, before joining the Justice Department, that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation might be a “witch hunt,” acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker declined to do so at a House Judiciary Committee hearing Friday.

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Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said in his opening remarks at a committee hearing Friday that he and acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker had come to an agreement that would avoid Nadler subpoenaing Whitaker during his testimony. But he also vowed that he would eventually get the answers he is seeking from Whitaker even if he declined to respond Friday.

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In his prepared remarks in front of the House Judiciary Committee Friday, acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker signaled that he planned to avoid lawmakers’ question about his conversations with President Trump on the grounds that the President may seek to invoke executive privilege on those topics at a later date.

“I want to assure you that I will seek to answer the Committee’s questions today, as best as I can, but I also must make clear that I will continue the longstanding Executive Branch policy and practice of not disclosing information that may be subject to executive privilege, such as the contents of deliberations or conversations with the President,” Whitaker will say, according to the prepared remarks.

They come after a tense showdown between Whitaker and the committee over whether the committee would subpoena him at the hearing for declining to answer certain questions about his White House contacts. Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said Thursday that any situations where Whitaker would refuse to answer the committee’s questions on a ‘”case-by-case” basis.

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Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker said Thursday that he would not show up at a House Judiciary hearing at which he had previously voluntarily agreed to testify unless the committee assured him that it will not subpoena him at the hearing or before it. The committee has laid the groundwork to issue Whitaker a subpoena at the hearing if did not answer certain questions, including about his communications with the White House regarding special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

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