The interview of Matthew Whitaker, the acting U.S. attorney general, has been postponed until Friday. The Interim U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia said in a statement that Whitaker would not be appearing in person Wednesday. Instead, his attorney would participate by phone.
A spokesperson from Whitaker’s office said the interview would be delayed after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a motion requesting a postponement because the team of attorneys involved wanted more time to prepare. Whitaker’s team cited a comment by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ office, which said the first-term senator-turned-top DOJ official wouldn’t be able to talk to staff about ethics violations without an ethics exemption.
The delay is the latest fallout from the firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Whitaker’s previous role as head of the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel has prompted some Democrats to allege he played a central role in efforts to undermine the special counsel’s probe into President Donald Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Whitaker was named in a Justice Department filing as the lawyer advising Sessions in his discussions with Attorney General William Barr. But he was not named as a government employee that spoke on the record about the sessions. The release of the documents occurred before Whitaker was confirmed as a member of the Senate. Whitaker did not address the issue during his confirmation hearing.
Amid reports the acting attorney general was a close friend of White House adviser John Bolton, the Senate Judiciary Committee delayed Monday’s hearing of Bret Kavanaugh to go first to his hearing.
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