Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker on Thursday threatened to pull out of a planned congressional hearing that was scheduled to take place on Friday.
The Daily Beast reports that Whitaker is upset by Rep. Jerry Nadler’s (D-NY) threat to issue a subpoena to compel his testimony, and he wants the congressman to withdraw the subpoena as a precondition for his testimony.
“Unfortunately, the committee has deviated from historic practice and protocol and take the unnecessary and premature step of authorizing a subpoena to the me (sic),” Whitaker wrote. “Such unprecedented action breaches our prior agreement and circumvents the constitutionally required confirmation process.”
Whitaker then said he feared that the purpose of his testimony was to create a “public spectacle.”
“Political theater is not the purpose of an oversight hearing, and I will not allow that to be the case,” he wrote.
The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted along party lines to let Nadler subpoena Whitaker if the acting attorney general refused to answer the committee’s questions about conversations he’d had with President Donald Trump.
Nadler had sent Whitaker a list of questions in advance of his hearing, and asked Whitaker to state whether he planned to invoke executive privilege to any of them. Whitaker never replied to Nadler’s request, which meant that Whitaker is expected to answer all of Nadler’s questions without evasion.