Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker will not appear before the House Judiciary Committee Friday unless Democrats drop their bid to serve him with a subpoena that they pre-emptively authorized to ensure he’ll answer questions, according to a Justice Department letter to committee Chairman Jerrold Nalder, sent on Thursday.
Unless Mr. Whitaker receives a written assurance by 6 p.m. Thursday that he will not be subpoenaed, he will not testify, according to the letter.
The letter, authored by Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd, said the subpoena is “a striking departure” from the relationship between Congress and the Justice Department.
Mr. Boyd also signaled Mr. Whitaker’s responses to several of the questions expected by Democrats.
“The Acting Attorney General will testify that at no time did the White House ask for, or did the Acting Attorney General provide any promises or commitments concerning the special counsel’s investigation,” Mr. Boyd wrote.
The letter also states that Mr. Whitaker will testify that the Justice Department has complied with the regulations for managing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Democrats authorized the subpoena Thursday along a party-line vote of 23-13. Mr. Nadler said it was necessary because Mr. Whitaker did not tell the committee if the Trump administration would invoke executive privilege with a series of questions they intend to ask about his conversations with the president.
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