WASHINGTON — Former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker was involved in conversations about the scope of New York federal prosecutors’ investigation into President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen and about whether to fire one or more U.S. attorneys, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters after a closed-door meeting with Whitaker, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said that Whitaker didn’t deny — as he had in a public committee hearing last month — that Trump had called him to discuss the Cohen investigation, in which prosecutors in December implicated the president in two federal campaign-finance violations.
Nadler said that Whitaker, while serving as acting attorney general, had been “directly involved” in conversations about whether to fire U.S. attorneys, though the congressman didn’t specify which ones. Nadler also said Whitaker had been involved in discussions about the “scope of the Southern District attorney and his recusal,” and whether New York prosecutors “went too far” in pursuing their campaign-finance investigation.
Nadler didn’t specify with whom Whitaker had those conversations. The House Judiciary Committee believes it has evidence that Trump asked Whitaker whether Manhattan U.S. attorney Geoffrey Berman could regain control of his office’s investigation into Cohen, The Wall Street Journal previously reported. Berman is a former law partner of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and in 2016 donated to the Trump campaign. The president personally interviewed him for the U.S. attorney job, and last year he recused himself from involvement in the Cohen investigation.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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