Republicans made clear they regarded Friday's hearing as a partisan exercise and a waste, given Whitaker's status as a probable short-timer.
"This is such a compelling issue, Joy, you and I have talked about it before", Jayapal said, "Republicans and Democrats agree that this was a heinous crime that has been committed against thousands of children". Also expected to come up was Whitaker's comment last week that he believed the investigation into potential ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign was almost done. If Matt Whitaker had been on trial for the crime of jay-walking or littering, if the Democrats had their way, he would be on death row by now. Jerrold Nadler's (D-N.Y.) line of questioning.
He also testified he had taken no actions related to the probe. "Stone's indictment or his arrest".
Yet Democrats yielded no new information about the status of the Mueller probe as Whitaker repeatedly refused to discuss conversations with the president or answer questions that he thought might reveal details.
His answers to Democrats' questions often focused on procedure and involved rhetorical wind-ups that ate up precious seconds.
Mr Trump has denounced the investigations as "presidential harassment".
During a combative back-and-forth with Whitaker, Nadler grew frustrated and announced his intention to recall Whitaker for a deposition, saying he expected Whitaker to then provide "clean" answers or to properly assert executive privilege.
"It is our understanding that at least one briefing occurred between your decision not to recuse yourself on December 19 and six days later, Christmas Day", Nadler said.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Thursday to recommend that the full Senate confirm Barr as attorney general, which could happen as soon as next week.
"I'm not going to surrender the responsibilities of the attorney general to get the title", he told Sen. Pressed by Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., to tell Trump that Mueller is "honest", Whitaker replied: "I am not here to be a puppet to repeat terms and words that you say".
Trump critics and leftists mocked Whitaker as "unqualified and ignorant".
Whitaker also reminded the committee that attorney general nominee William Barr would likely take over his job as attorney general in a week, and scolded lawmakers for not asking him about the Justice Department's work on violent crime, the opioid crisis, religious liberty, and free speech on college campuses.
"We had the show yesterday", Collins said.
Whitaker's appointment also raised legal questions, prompted court challenges, and renewed scrutiny of his past business practices.