“A federal judge has turned down the Justice Department’s bid to keep secret several financial disclosure forms acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker submitted before his filings were formally accepted by ethics officials,” Politico reports.
House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said that former acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker “did not deny” that President Trump “called him to discuss the case” against his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen.
Speaking to reporters after a two-hour meeting with Whitaker, Nadler presented Whitaker’s closed-door comments as a contradiction with his public testimony from February, during which Whitaker said Trump never expressed his dissatisfaction with Cohen for pleading guilty to various financial crimes and lying to Congress. When asked at that hearing whether he had ever discussed the Cohen case with Trump, Whitaker refused to answer the question.
“Matthew Whitaker, the former acting attorney general whose brief appointment generated intense controversy, resigned from the Justice Department over the weekend,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
“Justice Department officials said Whitaker’s last day at the agency was Saturday. He had spent recent weeks working as a senior counselor in the office of the associate attorney general. He has not settled on what to do next in his legal career.”
“The House Judiciary Committee believes it has evidence that President Trump asked Matthew Whitaker, at the time the acting attorney general, whether Manhattan U.S. attorney Geoffrey Berman could regain control of his office’s investigation into Mr. Trump’s former lawyer and his real-estate business,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“There is no sign Mr. Whitaker acted on any request from Mr. Trump, which the New York Times reported last week. But the House Judiciary Committee is investigating whether Mr. Whitaker may have perjured himself in his appearance before the panel earlier this month.”
“Acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker said he will not appear before Congress Friday without assurances he won’t be subpoenaed — giving Democrats a deadline of 6 p.m. Thursday to respond,” the Washington Post reports.
“Whitaker’s move came shortly after the House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to give its chairman the authority to subpoena Whitaker’s testimony, should he fail to appear or answer lawmakers’ questions.”
Acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker said that he has been “fully briefed” on special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election and that, “right now, the investigation is close to being completed,” the Washington Post reports.
“Months after joining the advisory board of a Miami-based patent company in 2014, Matthew Whitaker began fielding angry complaints from customers that they were being defrauded, including from a client who showed up at his Iowa office to appeal to him personally for help,” the Washington Post reports.
“Yet Whitaker, now the acting attorney general, remained an active champion of World Patent Marketing for three years — even expressing willingness to star in national television ads promoting the firm, the records show.”
Bloomberg: New documents released by the Federal Trade Commission suggest that Whitaker misled the agency’s investigators as he was stepping into his role last year as Justice Department chief of staff.
President Trump “feels no urgency to nominate a new attorney general and is content with Matthew Whitaker in place as acting head of the Department,” Bloomberg reports.
“He isn’t concerned by demands to move quickly to nominate a successor to fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions from key Republican senators including Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham, who is set to take over the panel in January… Trump has had conversations with many advisers about potential nominees, but no clear frontrunner has emerged… He’s been satisfied with Whitaker’s performance and that is one reason for his unhurried pace.”
“He may not be the sharpest knife in our drawer, but he can see his future and knows that if he acted in an extralegal way, he would go down in history for the wrong reasons. I’m sure he doesn’t want that.”
— Former FBI Director James Comey, in a WGBH interview, on acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.
Washington Post: “In the three years after he arrived in Washington in 2014, Matthew Whitaker received more than $1.2 million as the leader of a charity that reported having no other employees, some of the best pay of his career… In its application to the IRS for status as a tax-exempt organization, the organizers reported that the group would study the impact of environmental regulations on businesses.”
“In that incarnation, the group took no action and ‘only existed on paper,’ one man named in IRS filings as a board member told The Washington Post. Another named in a state filing as a board member said he never agreed to be on the board.”
Jonathan Swan: “President Trump has been telling people privately that he’s impressed by the ‘courage’ acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker is showing in the face of burgeoning legal challenges and questions about his history of publicly criticizing the Mueller investigation.”
Said a source familiar with Trump’s thinking: “Clearly what he likes about him is he’s holding his ground, not running for the tall grass.”
“Trump has shown no great urgency to settle on a permanent replacement for Jeff Sessions and seems happy with Whitaker’s current status.”
Matthew Whitaker, appointed acting attorney general after Jeff Sessions resigned, “was a paid advisory-board member of an invention-promotion company shut down by federal regulators last year as an alleged scam,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“President Trump talked recently with Jeff Sessions’s own chief of staff about replacing Sessions as attorney general, signaling that the president remains keenly interested in ousting his top law enforcement official,” the Washington Post reports.
“The conversation between Trump and Matthew G. Whitaker was somewhat nebulous, the people said. It was not clear, for example, whether Whitaker would take over on an interim basis or be nominated in a more permanent capacity, or how definitive the president’s intentions were.”