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Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker testified to the House Judiciary Committee Friday that he has "not interfered, in any way, with the special counsel's investigation."

The big picture: Whitaker's highly anticipated hearing was temporarily thrown into doubt Thursday after he informed the panel he would not appear unless he received assurances that he would not be served with a subpoena for invoking executive privilege. Whitaker has come under scrutiny from Democrats over his past criticisms of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, as well as his decision not to recuse himself from overseeing the probe against the recommendation of at least one Justice Department ethics official.

Other highlights:

  • On his discussions with Trump: "I have not talked to the president of the United States about the special counsel’s investigation. ... [Before becoming acting AG], I did not talk about my views about the Mueller investigation with anyone in the White House."
  • On the scope of Mueller's mandate: "In my experience, it's consistent with the appointments of other special counsels."
  • On whether the Mueller probe is a "witch hunt": "It would be inappropriate for me to talk about an ongoing investigation."
  • On his past comments about hamstringing the Mueller probe: "I have not denied any funds to the special counsel's investigation."
  • On his decision not to recuse himself: After a contentious back-and-forth, Whitaker said, "I consulted with career ethics officials. I consulted with my senior staff. I consulted with the Office of Legal Counsel. It was my decision to make. I decided not to recuse."
  • On his comments about Mueller wrapping up: "Bob Mueller is going to finish his investigation when he wants to finish his investigation. ... I have no reason to believe he's not honest."

Go deeper

Updated 17 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
2 hours ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

3 hours ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.