LIVE: Democrats and Republicans come out swinging at Matthew Whitaker’s high stakes hearing before Congress

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LIVE: Democrats and Republicans come out swinging at Matthew Whitaker’s high stakes hearing before Congress

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker appeared before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday for a highly anticipated testimony about his oversight of the Justice Department.

Whitaker’s testimony comes after some back and forth between him and Democrats on the panel, who earlier this week voted to give the committee’s chairman, New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, the authority to subpoena Whitaker’s testimony if he failed to show up Friday or refused to answer lawmakers’ questions.

Following the vote, Whitaker said in a statement Thursday that he would not testify unless Democrats dropped their subpoena threat. Whitaker ultimately agreed to appear before the committee after Nadler responded in a letter, saying there would “be no need” for a subpoena as long as Whitaker showed up Friday prepared to answer lawmakers’ questions.

Friday’s hearing comes as House Democrats flex their oversight and investigative powers after becoming the majority in the lower chamber following the November 2018 midterm elections.

Nadler and his fellow Democrats on the Judiciary Committee have signaled a particular interest in learning more about the circumstances of Whitaker’s appointment as acting attorney general; his oversight of the FBI’s Russia investigation; and his refusal to recuse himself from the investigation in light of inflammatory comments he made about the inquiry and the special counsel Robert Mueller.

The hearing began at 9:30 a.m. ET. Follow along for live updates.

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