Matthew Whitaker, who recently ended his short-term tenure as acting attorney general, now finds himself under scrutiny for possible perjury by House Democrats after a New York Times report appears to conflict with testimony he provided earlier this month.
During testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Whitaker said that President Donald Trump had never pressured him to interfere in the various investigations hanging over his presidency.
According to The Times report, Trump had asked Whitaker early on if he could put U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey S. Berman in charge of the investigation into his former lawyer Michael Cohen, who alleged that Trump directed him to make hush money payments to two women during the 2016 campaign.
Berman is perceived by Trump to be a loyalist, but having been appointed by Trump, he recused himself from the investigation due to a routine conflict of interest.
A Justice Department spokeswoman said Tuesday that the White House had not asked Mr. Whitaker to interfere in the investigations. “Under oath to the House Judiciary Committee, then-Acting Attorney General Whitaker stated that ‘at no time has the White House asked for nor have I provided any promises or commitments concerning the special counsel’s investigation or any other investigation,’” said the spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec. “Mr. Whitaker stands by his testimony.”