Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker testified Friday before the House Judiciary Committee. While he said little of substance and fought the entire hearing, at one time being reminded that this was not a football field or contact sport, one exchange was especially interesting and requires additional inquiry.
Representative Veronica Escobar asked Whitaker: “Did you ever create, direct the creation of, see, or become aware of the existence of any documents relating to pardoning of any individual?” Whitaker, after looking down and after a pregnant pause, responded, “I’m aware of documents relating to pardoning of individuals, yes.”
What is most interesting about this exchange, other than the fact that nobody followed up on it after he uttered it, is that the Deputy Attorney General, currently Rod Rosenstein, is the person who would recommend pardons to the president. In addition, Whitaker became Acting Attorney General in November 2018, while the last pardon issued by “President” Donald Trump was in July 2018. So, Whitaker has either seen pardon paperwork for future pardons, which would not be the ordinary protocol, or has otherwise seen pardon paperwork. Trump cannot pardon his way out of this, due to state-level charges and other factors. But if he’s planning to futilely try it, the public deserves to know.
The House likely will bring Whitaker back for questioning on this and other topics, and we can once again witness him drink more water than most people drink in a week in a span of five hours. After Whitaker left the hearing, he reportedly went to Trump International Hotel, perhaps to debrief, perhaps for a stiff drink. How long he stayed and what the reason was for the visit, other than perhaps to flaunt this administration and corruption, we do not know.