Judiciary Dem asks Whitaker: 'How the heck did you become the head of the Department of Justice?'

Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesThis week: House Dems voting to hold Barr, Ross in contempt Trump doubles down after telling Democratic congresswomen to 'go back' to their countries Pressley: Democrats don't need 'any more black faces that don't want to be a black voice' MORE (D-N.Y.) in one of the more pointed moments of a testy hearing on Friday questioned how Matthew Whitaker became President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Camerota clashes with Trump's immigration head over president's tweet LA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' Trump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates MORE's acting attorney general.

"I'm confused. I really am. We're all trying to figure out, who are you? Where did you come from?" Jeffries, a member of Democratic House leadership seen as a possible future Speaker, asked Whitaker during the House Judiciary Committee hearing.

"And how the heck did you become the head of the Department of Justice?" Jeffries stated. "Hopefully you can help me work through this confusion."

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When Whitaker began to respond, Jeffries promptly cut him off and chided: "That was a statement, not a question."

"I assume you know the difference," he said.

It was just the latest confrontational moment of the hearing, one of the first to center on special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE's investigation and the legal controversies swirling around Trump since Democrats took over the House.

Whitaker is seen as a Trump loyalist, and he is expected to be replaced as attorney general as soon as William Barr wins confirmation in the Senate. Barr is a former attorney general from former President George H.W. Bush's administration. 

Whitaker took the post when Trump fired former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question Alabama senator says Trump opposed to Sessions Senate bid Judiciary issues blitz of subpoenas for Kushner, Sessions, Trump associates MORE, who had recused himself from overseeing the Russia investigation — earning Trump's wrath in the process. 

Jeffries listed former Trump campaign aides who have pleaded guilty in Mueller's probe, naming former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortTop Mueller prosecutor Zainab Ahmad joins law firm Gibson Dunn Russian oligarch's story could spell trouble for Team Mueller Trump, Mueller, the issue of 'guilt' and a do-nothing Congress MORE, the president's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and his longtime adviser Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneCounterprotesters outnumber far-right extremists at DC rally Judge orders Roger Stone to file rebuttal to allegation he violated gag order Federal prosecutors allege Roger Stone violated gag order with Instagram posts MORE.

"Manafort, Gates, Flynn, Cohen, Papadopoulos and Stone are all in deep trouble. One by one, all of the president's men are going down in flames," Jeffries said.

"It is often said where there is smoke, there's fire. There's a lot of smoke emanating from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. right now."

He also issued a stark warning that Whitaker should not to interfere in Mueller's investigation during his final days as the DOJ's top cop.

"In your final week, keep your hands off the Mueller investigation," Jeffries told Whitaker emphatically, ending his line of questioning with a statement.

"The investigation into Russia's attack on our democracy is not a witch hunt. It's not a fishing expedition. It's not a hoax. It's not a lynch mob. It's a national security. The fact that people suggest otherwise comes dangerously close to providing aid and comfort to the enemy," he added.