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DOJ officials already making excuses for Matt Whitaker ahead of congressional testimony: Democrats ‘hate this guy’

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The Justice Department is laying the groundwork for acting attorney general Matt Whitaker to faceplant during his congressional testimony, but Democrats say he should be prepared for questioning.

Dozens of DOJ officials have been prepping Whitaker to testify Friday before a Democratic-led oversight committee, and a source suggested President Donald Trump’s political opponents were lying in wait for the acting attorney general, reported The Daily Beast.

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“They hate this guy so much,” the source said.

Dozens of Justice Department officials have been peppering Whitaker with questions in “moot” hearings, but sources suggested House Democrats would blindside him with questions about his conversations with the president about special counsel Robert Mueller.

“We don’t know what we’re up against with the House Judiciary Committee,” the source told The Daily Beast. “We have no idea.”

A senior Justice Department official agreed, saying, “We don’t know what they’re going to do.”

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But a spokesman for Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, dismissed those pre-emptive excuses as ridiculous.

“The notion that Mr. Whitaker doesn’t know what to expect on Friday is absurd,” said Nadler spokesman Daniel Schwarz. “We have given him months to prepare for this hearing, provided him with a list of questions more than two weeks ago, and we continue to give our Republican colleagues every opportunity to weigh in on the process.”

“Most importantly,” Schwarz added, “in repeated public letter after public letter, we have made our expectations for Mr. Whitaker’s appearance crystal clear. If he is still confused at this point, it is because he hasn’t done his homework—not because we haven’t explained it to him.”

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Nadler sent the acting attorney general a Jan. 22 letter that lists questions he intends to ask, and he also asked Whitaker to notify him at least 48 hours in advance if he planned to invoke executive privilege on any of those questions.

The Justice Department has already missed Nadler’s deadline.

“We’re not aware of any rules that govern a set amount of time when one needs to invoke executive privilege,” one senior Justice Department official told The Daily Beast. “We do intend to respond, fulsomely addressing the executive-privilege issue in a letter before the hearing.”

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If Whitaker refuses to answer questions without invoking executive privilege, the committee could move to hold him in contempt of Congress and then ask a federal judge to force him to answer.

Nadler’s committee plans to vote Thursday whether to subpoena pre-emptively Whitaker, so they could serve him with the subpoena if he refuses to answer questions.

“It’s unfortunate that they decided to engage in this kind of political theatrics, especially given the fact that this is someone who has voluntarily agreed to come in,” the senior DOJ official said. “We’ve never seen this before.”

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Fox’s Chris Wallace stunned as ‘flailing’ Trump tries to order around US companies while the stock market plunges

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Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace seemed stunned by a series of angry tweets from Donald Trump on Friday morning, first attacking Fed Chair Jerome Powell for not lowering interest rates than exploding at China over a new round of tariffs.

Speaking with host Sandra Smith, Wallace sat and listened as she read off the president's Twitter complaints about economic events beyond his control, including one telling U.S. companies to take their manufacturing business elsewhere.

"We are just all learning of this at the same time, but the best I can tell, the American president can’t order U.S. companies how they’re going to do their sales and where they’re going to have their supply chains," Wallace lectured. "We have a free-market capitalist system."

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‘Alarming gibberish’: Trump mocked for raging impotently against Fed chair and China

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President Donald Trump attacked his own Federal Reserve chairman as an "enemy" of the United States amid his escalating trade war with China -- and other social media users were flabbergasted.

Fed chairman Jerome Powell refused to budge on interest rates, despite heavy pressure by the president in the face of a looming recession, and China retaliated against the tariffs Trump imposed with a new round of their own.

Trump lashed out at Powell, whose name he misspelled, and compared him unfavorably to Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

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Trump snaps after ‘enemy’ Fed chairman doesn’t drop interest rates — compares him to China’s Xi

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President Donald Trump flipped out on his Federal Reserve chairman after China imposed a new round of tariffs in his ongoing trade war against the economic powerhouse.

The president lashed out at Fed chairman Jerome Powell after he refused to budge on interest rates, and referred to the official he chose as an "enemy" of the United States.

"As usual, the Fed did NOTHING!" Trump raged on Twitter. "It is incredible that they can 'speak' without knowing or asking what I am doing, which will be announced shortly. We have a very strong dollar and a very weak Fed. I will work 'brilliantly' with both, and the U.S. will do great.."

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