Trump officials worried they won't hold up under questioning after watching Whitaker battle Democrats: report
Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker testifies before Congress. Image via screengrab.

White House officials are reportedly aware that other Trump cabinet members won't be able to pull off as strong a Congressional performance as Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.

A West Wing advisor to Donald Trump told Axios that the president was pleased with Whitaker's performance in front of Congress on Friday — and his aides are taking notice.

"[Trump] liked the combative approach," the outside adviser who's familiar with the president's thinking said. "He thought the Democrats were grandstanding."

During his testimony, Whitaker at one point chided new House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), telling him "Mr. Chairman, I see that your five minutes is up."

White House officials, the adviser told Axios, learned that they should "not give an inch, push back, resist, delay, deflect."

Republicans, meanwhile, have identified a new angle following the Whitaker hearing.

"The White House recognizes that it can do little to resist the House Dems' demands for testimony," the report noted. "Republicans just hope that over time, they can argue to their base that Dems have been guilty of overreach and 'show trials.'"

A GOP operative that spoke to Axios said that Republicans believe Americans may side with the acting attorney general.

"It doesn’t take long for ordinary voters — who are very different from people in Washington — to start seeing participating committee members as pompous, rude and belittling, and begin to side with whoever is sitting in the hot seat," the operative said.