Matthew Whitaker: Trump’s Wall
Spending one of your last days on a job being grilled by members of Congress can’t be fun. And, it didn’t look like much fun for Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker on February 8, BUT he prevailed. He really said nothing new besides the fact that he was briefed on the Mueller investigation and no, he had not discussed it with the president. He also was a bit of a wise guy with Chairman Jerry Nadler when he informed the chairman that his five minutes to question him were up. Whitaker was both polite and defiant and was the perfect representative of the Trump Administration in a situation such as this. He gave up nothing. He was a wall.
The Republicans on the committee tried various procedural maneuvers, even attempting to end the proceedings, but the Dems have been waiting for two years under Trump to gain some foothold in the political hierarchy of Washington, and the House is it. They kept asking questions about Mueller and Trump and Whitaker didn’t give an inch. Game, set, match Whitaker although he could always be recalled and may even get a new job under Trump meaning this will be only the first of his hot seat appearances.
This is the nature of congressional hearings. They are controlled by the majority. It conducts hearings to make its points. The minority does its best to undermine the legitimacy of the inquiry and stall. In Whitaker the GOP had a great staller as he lengthened his answers to eat up the five-minute clock that each member gets to ask questions.
The real issues remain.
When will the Mueller probe end?
Who else might be indicted by Mueller?
What about the parallel investigation in the Southern District of New York that is really focused on Trump finances?
Is there any real evidence that the president or his advisors conspired with Russia to fix the 2016 election?
And the biggest question of all, will we ever find out, as a report to the public is not mandated by the Special Counsel statutes under which Mueller is operating?
My guess is that this is not as close to over as many would have us believe. Mr. Mueller is probably following all the leads and being as complete as possible. The U.S. attorneys in New York are also starting to go after the Trump inaugural committee and other Trump financial arrangements. It makes you wonder if Mr. Trump may live to rue the day he ever came down that escalator and started running for president.
I also think that it is safe to say that those who are talking don’t know and those who know aren’t talking. We are all just going to have to be patient to see what transpires. Is the president a crook? Too soon to say, but there are those trying to find out and others, like Mr. Whitaker, who are making that line of questioning as opaque as possible.