Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 8, setting up dual blockbuster hearings that week as House Democrats launch their oversight into the Trump presidency, reports Politico. Whitaker will appear one day after Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testifies before the House Oversight Committee. The two hearings will almost certainly create a headache for the president as special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into his 2016 presidential campaign enters its 20th month. Oversight Democrats are expected to ask Cohen about Trump’s campaign-time payments to women alleging extramarital affairs with the president and his financial dealings with Russia. Judiciary Democrats will press Whitaker, once a fervent critic of Mueller, about why he ignored ethics recommendations to recuse himself from the Russia probe.
Democrats have long suspected that Trump planted Whitaker as a spy, delegated to undercutting the Mueller probe. They’ll grill him on his interactions with Mueller as well as any information he passed on to Trump allies. Judiciary chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) told Whitaker that if the plans to invoke executive privilege in an attempt to avoid answering any particular question, “I ask that you consult with the White House well in advance of the hearing.” Depending on William Barr’s confirmation date, Whitaker may be former acting attorney general at the time he testifies. Nadler’s panel is gearing up investigations on policy issues. On Monday, the committee asked the Homeland Security, Justice and Health and Human Services departments to preserve all documents related to Trump’s separation of immigrant families at the southwest border last summer.