The Atlantic

Matthew Whitaker Plays to an Audience of One

Throughout a contentious oversight hearing, the acting attorney general seemed to be auditioning for his next job in the Trump administration.
Source: Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

It took about five minutes of questioning for the acting attorney general to provoke gasps and jeers in the congressional hearing room. “Your five minutes is up,” Matthew Whitaker, an ex–U.S. attorney turned toilet salesman, told the House Judiciary Committee’s Democratic chairman, Jerry Nadler. Nadler cracked a smile, but from that point on, the rules of engagement seemed clear: Whitaker, with just days remaining in his legally dubious role as the interim head of the Justice Department, appeared to be playing to an audience of one.

President Donald Trump appointed Whitaker late. And then came his stint as a CNN commentator in 2017, during which he blasted Mueller and opined that his probe had “gone too far.” All of this received heavy scrutiny as the of his appointment was challenged in the courts.

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