The setup for Whitaker's hearing was fairly typical: Committee members did the asking in five-minute increments.
Although Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is understood to have continued overseeing the investigation after President Trump elevated Whitaker, the acting attorney general said last month he's been "fully briefed" on Mueller's work and that he expected it to conclude soon.
Friday was likely the first and last time that Whitaker will testify as acting attorney general.
But after Collins raised the claim that CNN had been tipped off of the arrest by federal authorities, Whitaker said he did not "know of any other special counsel's office notice or DOJ notice to media outlets of Mr".
But the antagonism between House Democrats and Whitaker was on full display throughout the hearing on Friday.
The hearing room erupted in gasps when Whitaker pushed back strongly against a question from Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat, about whether he had ever been asked to approve any action requested by Mueller.
'I want to be very specific about this, Mr. Chairman because I think it's going to allay a lot of fears that have existed among this committee, among the legislative branch largely, and maybe among some American people, ' Whitaker said. The Maryland congressman noted that Whitaker's "fascinating career" included having "owned a daycare center, a concrete supply business, trailer sales, GOP activist, US attorney...." On Thursday, Democrats on the committee marked up a subpoena for possible use to compel his cooperation.
'We have followed the special counsel's regulations to a tee.
At that point, Whitaker was admonished, "The witness will answer the questions, and it's up to the gentleman to decide what questions".
"It's getting a little tiresome hearing you stall", the New York Democrat told Whitaker.
Nadler said the hearing was crucial for lawmakers to get answers to questions about Whitaker's role at the Department of Justice and his appointment.
The House hearing almost derailed on Thursday when Democrats on the panel voted to authorize Nadler to issue a subpoena to compel Whitaker to appear and answer questions.
"The time for this administration to postpone accountability is over", Nadler said. Here's one: Trump's acting attorney general involved in firm that scammed veterans out of life savings. That's at least in part because his stewardship began in November with Jeff Sessions' resignation and could end next week if the Senate confirms William Barr to the post.
Whitaker, a former USA attorney from Iowa, took over when Sessions was forced from the Cabinet last November as Trump seethed over Sessions' decision to step aside from overseeing the Russian Federation investigation.
Whitaker then was allowed time to explain how his ascension to be acting attorney general came about.
"I am aware of that, and it was deeply concerning to me as to how CNN found out about that", Whitaker said. The letter declared Whitaker wouldn't appear before the panel, unless members withdrew a subpoena, compelling his testimony.