The House Judiciary Committee plans to meet in private Wednesday with former acting attorney general Matthew G. Whitaker, amid Democrats’ concerns that he intentionally misled them during a combative public hearing last month.
In a letter to Whitaker after his testimony, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said members of the panel found Whitaker’s answers “unsatisfactory, incomplete, or contradicted by other evidence,” stressing that they wanted to meet with him again so he could “elaborate” on his testimony.
Whitaker, who has not worked at the Justice Department since William P. Barr assumed the role of attorney general last month, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Wednesday’s meeting — which will not be an official interview or deposition, according to a committee spokeswoman — comes as the panel escalates its probe of President Trump. Last week, the committee issued 81 document requests to members of Trump’s inner circle, including family members and close friends, employees of his businesses, and officials involved with his campaign, transition team and administration.
Whitaker was not among those to receive such a request. But in Nadler’s February letter to him, he outlined the areas where he expected Whitaker to furnish additional information or clarify discrepancies.
Nadler questioned Whitaker’s testimony indicating that he never discussed Trump’s frustration with Michael Cohen, the president’s former attorney, for pleading guilty to lying to Congress and various financial crimes.
Nadler also questioned why Whitaker refused to answer a question about whether he had ever discussed Cohen’s case with Trump.
In his testimony, Whitaker denied sharing his opinions about special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election — a statement panel Democrats found difficult to believe, Nadler wrote, given that Whitaker had interviewed to serve as White House lawyer.
Nadler also wrote that he wished to speak with Whitaker further about “improper communications you appear to have had with the White House about several ongoing criminal investigations.”
Nadler sent his letter to Whitaker the day before the Senate confirmed Barr as attorney general.
A spokeswoman for the committee’s top Republican, Rep. Douglas A. Collins (Ga.), had no immediate comment, though the panel’s Republicans have objected to Nadler’s continued focus on Whitaker.
Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.