Matt Whitaker

Nadler: Whitaker "did not deny" talking to Trump about Cohen

House Judiciary Committee chairman, Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.),
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto/ Getty Images

House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), told reporters on Wednesday that former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker did not deny discussing details of the Michael Cohen case with President Trump, nor did he refute claims that he directly participated in conversations about whether to fire 1 or more U.S. attorneys in New York who brought the case against Cohen.

Details: Whitaker, who was in charge of the Justice Department from November until last month, met privately with Nadler to clarify his public testimony that took place in February. However, the panel's ranking Republican member Douglas Collins (R-Ga.), who was present, pushed back against Nadler's characterization of Whitaker's comments, calling them an "inaccurate interpretation of what he said. Mr. Whitaker said he did not have conversations with the president about Cohen," said Collins, per CBS News reports.

Report: Trump asked Whitaker to appoint ally to lead Cohen probe

Matt Whitaker shaking Trump's hand
Then-acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker shaking President Trump's hand. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump late last year called acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to ask whether a Trump-appointed attorney could "unrecuse" himself in order to lead the Southern District of New York's investigation into hush money payments during the 2016 election, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: There is no indication that Whitaker took any steps to appoint Trump ally Geoffrey Berman to lead the investigation, which had ensnared the president's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen. But Whitaker, who has reportedly told colleagues that part of his job was to "jump on a grenade" for the president, testified to the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month that Trump had never pressured him to intervene in any investigation.