Whitaker's highly anticipated testimony was in limbo for much of the day Thursday after the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee approved a tentative subpoena to ensure that he appeared and answered questions.
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker's scheduled appearance before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday is still uncertain as the Department of Justice exchanges letters with the panel over whether Whitaker might be subpoenaed. Nadler said the authority was needed in light of "troubling events", including former Attorney General Jeff Sessions' refusal in two hearings in 2017 to answer questions about conversations with Trump.
He criticised the committee for prematurely and unnecessarily authorising a subpoena for him even though he had agreed to appear. "Political theater is not the goal of an oversight hearing, and I will not allow that to be the case", he added.
Democrats are anxious that Whitaker, whose public comments before taking over the Justice Department suggested he was sympathetic to Trump and critical of the Mueller probe, may seek to evade questions he is asked during the proceedings.
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is giving House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler until 6 p.m.to drop a subpoena threat to force him to answer committee questions at a Friday hearing.
Many Democrats have been expressing strong reservations about Whitaker, describing him as a Trump loyalist and noting how critical he has been of Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.
Whitaker has been undertaking significant preparations ahead of the hearing, including conducting briefings with every the Justice Department component and participating in several mock hearings, according to the officials.
If the panel had questions about oversight of Mueller's probe, Republicans also argued, better to question Rosenstein, who had been monitoring it for far longer than Whitaker.
Asked about Whitaker testifying before Congress, President Donald Trump called Whitaker an "outstanding person" and said he would do very well should he testify. They said it was unnecessary because Whitaker was already appearing voluntarily. And Whitaker accused Democrats of resorting to "political theater" in his statement. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines Thursday to approve Barr's nomination, sending the pick to the full Senate.
After Whitaker's statement, Collins said Nadler had overplayed his hand. "The majority had enough faith in its witnesses last week not to subpoena them", said Ranking Member Doug Collins, (R-Ga.).
Nadler is seeking answers about "confidential presidential communications no Attorney General could ever be expected to disclose under the circumstances", Whitaker wrote in his letter Thursday.
"To be clear, I hope never to use this subpoena".
Boyd laid out an argument for asserting such executive privilege in the letter, saying that administration officials from both parties have declined to answer questions about conversations they have had with the president.
"The Acting Attorney General will testify that at no time did the White House ask for, or did the Acting Attorney General provide, any promises or commitments concerning the Special Counsel's investigation", Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd writes in the new letter obtained by CNN.