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Matthew Whitaker Turned His House Judiciary Committee Hearing Into a Joke and Democrats Let Him

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If you’ve watched any Congressional hearings in the past two years, you might recognize a familiar ritual when Democratic members of the House or Senate have attempted to question top Trump officials.

When seemingly simple “yes-no” questions arise, the witness might filibuster. If the question was about something the president might have discussed with the official, he might claim that executive privilege shielded conversations with the president—but executive privilege would never actually be asserted by the White House.

Ultimately, a five-minute timer would run out. At this point, the Republican chairman of the committee would hit the gavel and say the questioning period had ended and the hearing would move on. Sometimes, if the member of Congress would push too hard to get a specific answer, she would be shushed.

Because Republicans controlled the committees and showed little interest in seeing Democratic oversight inquiries answered, this would be the end of the matter. On Friday, in the House Judiciary Committee, newly empowered Democrats, led by Chairman Jerrold Nadler, had the opportunity to change the script.

They failed.

In fact, the situation played out almost exactly as it had in the past, down to a Republican calling “time’s up” on a Democrat. This time it was the witness, Acting Attorney General Matthew........

© Slate