Acting Attorney General and former patent company muscle Matthew Whitaker never promised the White House anything regarding the special counsel investigation, Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd wrote in a Thursday letter to House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler.
“The Acting Attorney General will testify that at no time did the White House ask for, or did the Acting Attorney General provide, any promises or commitments concerning the Special Counsel’s investigation,” the letter reads.
Nadler had sent Whitaker a letter on Jan. 22 with a list of questions for the former hot tub salesman, including questions about Whitaker’s communications with the President about the special counsel probe. Nadler said that the acting attorney general would have to tell the committee whether the White House intended to assert executive privilege over any of the questions by Wednesday, and the Justice Department did not meet that deadline.
In the Thursday letter, Boyd took issue with Nadler’s demand that Whitaker ask the White House to determine whether to invoke executive privilege ahead of the hearing, and Boyd said Whitaker would not testify unless the committee promised not to issue a subpoena Thursday or Friday.
“We do not believe, however, that the Committee may legitimately expect the Acting Attorney General to discuss his communications with the President,” Boyd added.
The DOJ letter also stated that under Whitaker’s tenure, “the Department has continued to make its law enforcement decisions based upon the facts and law of each individual case, in accordance with established Department practices, and independent of any outside interference.”