Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Nadler: Whitaker hedging on his discussions with Trump

Michael Cohen President Donald Trump's former lawyer speaks as he departs after testifying before a closed-door session of the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Cohen sues the Tru Trump's ex-lawyer Cohen says testimony 'could have been clearer': lawyer
Jeannette Daniel | 14 March, 2019, 07:38

Doug Collins, the top Republican on the panel.

The Democratic chairman of the House Oversight Committee said Wednesday that he will not attempt to punish Michael Cohen for misleading the committee last month when he claimed he'd never asked President Trump for a pardon.

"That was taken in the context of his job as the acting attorney general where there is discussions in the normal personnel issues".

Nadler also referred to the Southern District of NY, which is involved in a campaign finance case against Cohen which implicates Mr. Trump.

Collins also dismissed a Nadler statement that Whitaker was involved in conversations about firing one or more USA attorneys as "normal personnel issues".

"While he was acting attorney general, Mr. Whitaker was directly involved in conversations about whether to fire one or more USA attorneys", Nadler continued.

Two Republican staff members in the room backed up Collins' version.

"He said he had not talked with the President about Mr. Cohen at all".

More news: Pakistan facing challenging situation on western border: FM Qureshi

Nadler, on Wednesday, did not elaborate on what exactly Whitaker said behind closed doors about the phone call.

But during combative questioning by Democrats, Whitaker was asked by Nadler whether he had "communicated any information" he had learned in briefings with investigators to the president.

Nadler also said that Whitaker, who was in charge of the Justice Department from November until February, told the committee leaders Wednesday he was involved in conversations about Southern District of New York US Attorney Geoffrey Berman's recusal in the Cohen case and whether SDNY went too far in pursuing the campaign finance case in which it identified Trump as "Individual 1" in court filings.

"Our practice on this committee is to give witnesses an opportunity to clarify their testimony, and that is what Mr. Cohen has done", Mr. Cummings said. Committee Republicans had no say in determining ground rules for the second meeting.

Speaking with reporters, Nadler said there were three main takeaways from the meeting.

Democrats warned that he could interfere with U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

Nadler said after the public testimony that his answers were 'unsatisfactory, incomplete or contradicted by other evidence.' In the letter sent to the Justice Department, Nadler said Whitaker didn't offer clear responses about his communications with the White House and was inconsistent about what questions he refused to answer.

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