Toobin, a CNN legal analyst and New Yorker writer, said Monday night that the remarks showed that Whitaker is “utterly unqualified” for his post.
“I have seen actual deer in actual headlights who express themselves more clearly than the attorney general of the United States did there,” Toobin said. “He cannot express himself about a matter of extreme importance―the Mueller investigation―and he has raised all these questions about decisions he’s going to review. What is he even talking about?”
In his statement, Whitaker said he was “fully briefed” on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, adding that he “look forward to” the delivery of his final report.
In a following remark, which Toobin said lacked context and was confusing, Whitaker said he was “comfortable that the directions that were made will be reviewed through the various means we have.”
Critiquing Whitaker further, Toobin argued that the solution was moving to confirm William Barr as the next attorney general, praising him as “a serious person with serious understanding of the law.”
“At least for the good of the country, it seems like he can only be confirmed sooner rather than later because this Whitaker guy, I have no idea what he’s doing there.”
Whitaker’s press conference follows last Friday’s indictment of longtime Donald Trump ally Roger Stone, who has been slapped with a seven-count indictment on charges of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction of justice.
Meanwhile Mueller has hinted that his work is not yet finished. As of January, he extended the meeting of his federal grand jury by an additional six months, thus leaving room for more indictments.