Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is refusing to appear at his previously scheduled hearing Friday on Capitol Hill unless Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, led by Chair Jerrold Nadler (NY) pledge to withhold a subpoena. He had previously volunteered to testify.
"I remain willing to appear to testify tomorrow, provided that the chairman assures me that the committee will not issue a subpoena today or tomorrow, and that the committee will engage in good faith negotiations before taking such a step down the road,” Whitaker said in a statement.
He added that he refuses to take part in their "political theater."
The panel, he said, 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.”
Asked to respond on Fox News, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) agreed the Democrats' plans to subpoena Whitaker was "outrageous."
Democrats planned to file a subpoena to make sure the acting AG answers questions as to why he didn't recuse himself in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, and why he has previously criticized the probe.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was publicly rebuked by President Trump for recusing himself from the Russia probe after being pressured by Democrats.
Meanwhile, Attorney General nominee William Barr just advanced to his full Senate nomination.
NEW: Senate Judiciary Committee just voted 12-10 to advance to the full Senate the nomination of William Barr to be US Attorney General. The vote was along party lines.— Laura Litvan (@LauraLitvan) February 7, 2019