Top Judiciary Republican to Swalwell: 'Stop running for president'

A House Judiciary Committee hearing with acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker became heated Friday when Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsSunday shows preview: As coronavirus spreads in the U.S., officials from each sector of public life weigh in Justice IG pours fuel on looming fight over FISA court Loeffler traded .4M in stocks as Congress responded to coronavirus pandemic MORE (R-Ga.) criticized a line of questioning by Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellKey House chairman cautions against remote voting, suggests other options amid coronavirus outbreak House Democrats plead with key committee chairman to allow remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Congress tiptoes toward remote voting MORE (D-Calif.) and later suggested he should stop “running for president.”

Collins objected to Swalwell grilling Whitaker on whether an organization the acting attorney general ran prior to joining the Trump administration received contributions from foreign donors.  

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“This is outside the scope of this hearing,” Collins said. “This is not when he was employed here.”

Swalwell shot back by suggesting Collins should “go sit down” with Whitaker’s lawyers if he wanted to defend him.

“Mr. Collins, if you want to sit down there with his lawyers, you can go sit down there,” Swalwell said. “But you’re not his lawyer.”

Collins replied by suggesting Swalwell, who is rumored to be mulling a White House candidacy, should ask appropriate questions.

“Neither are you, Mr. Swalwell, and if you asked questions that are actually part of this instead of running for president we could get this done,” Collins countered.

Collins’s effort to stop Swalwell’s line of questioning failed, and Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) allowed the California representative to continue to press Whitaker on whether his prior organization — known as the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust — received contributions from foreign donors.

“I do not believe, as I sit here today, that it did,” Whitaker said. “Our main donor was a U.S. entity.”