Taking a handful of questions in the Oval Office today, Donald Trump appeared tired and cranky. Judging by his Twitter rants, he isn’t sleeping well these days. Nor should he be sleeping well, because everything he’s touched in the last 10 years is now under investigation. And he has nobody to blame but himself, his own words, his own deeds, and his associations with a network of criminals and deplorables.
Just today the New York Times reported that, almost immediately after Trump announced Jeff Sessions’ former chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, would be taking over as the acting attorney general, Trump picked up the phone to see if he could shake things up in the Southern District of New York, particularly regarding the lead prosecutor on the Cohen case.
As federal prosecutors in Manhattan gathered evidence late last year about President Trump’s role in silencing women with hush payments during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump called Matthew G. Whitaker, his newly installed attorney general, with a question. He asked whether Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and a Trump ally, could be put in charge of the widening investigation, according to several American officials with direct knowledge of the call.
Geoffrey Berman was a member of Donald Trump’s transition team. Curious that he wanted Berman specifically in charge of that investigation, no?
At the White House today, a reporter asked Trump the following: “Did you ask acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker to change the leadership in the investigation of your former personal attorney, Michael Cohen?” Trump said, “Not at all,” but not before a seriously awkward pause.
Asked about NYT's report that he inquired with acting AG Whitaker about putting a loyalist in charge of SDNY's investigation of the Trump Organization, Trump pauses for a beat before denying it. pic.twitter.com/rBuL9H80fr
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 19, 2019
For what it’s worth, on Feb. 8, 2019, Matthew Whitaker testified under oath with the following statement: “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.”
Sounds like the White House did ask Matthew Whitaker to get involved in the Cohen investigation. You can bet Democrats will be calling him back for further testimony.
Whitaker, under oath: "at no time has the WH asked for nor have I provided any promises or commitments concerning the special counsel’s investigation or any other investigation."
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) February 19, 2019
Rep. Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, would like another word with Mr. Whitaker.