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

Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesBadrun Khan to challenge Ocasio-Cortez in Democratic primary Lewandowski, Democrats tangle at testy hearing Words matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump 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 TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' 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 MuellerLewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation 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 SessionsTrump reignites court fight with Ninth Circuit pick Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' 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 ManafortUkraine could badly damage both Donald Trump and the Democrats Lewandowski refuses to say whether Trump has offered him a pardon Democrats return to a battered Trump MORE, the president's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and his longtime adviser Roger StoneRoger Jason Stone3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 Judge rejects Stone's request to dismiss charges Judge dismisses DNC lawsuit against Trump campaign, Russia over election interference 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.