This post is by Colby Hall from Mediaite
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Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) laid into Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker during a House Oversight hearing Friday afternoon, asking specifically if the Department of Justice had lost track of the multitude of families who were separated as a result of the Justice Department’s policies. The often contentious hearing mostly focused on Whitaker’s temporary oversight of the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, of which he has been a vocal critic as a private citizen, but Ms. Jayapal’s five-minute questioning focused instead on the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S. Southern border. Jayapal first established that Whitaker was Chief of Staff for Attorney General Jeff Sessions when the separation policy was first enacted, though Whitaker admitted to not being aware of what was unfolding in the US-Mexico border. Jayapal was unimpressed by Whitaker’s policy ignorance and pressed the Acting AG hard on sort of tracking was in place as US officials separated parents from children as a means to deter future illegal immigration. “Did you track when you were prosecuting a parent or legal guardian who had been separated from a child?” Jayapal asked. Whitaker replied, “I don’t believe we were tracking that.” Jayapal confirmed, saying “You were not tracking. That is the correct answer. And when parents are prosecuted and sentenced, they are in DOJ custody, correct?” “Correct, they are custodies transferred to the U.S. Marshal,” Whitaker replied. An exasperated Jayapal finished with “these parents were in your custody, your attorneys are prosecuting them and your department was not tracking parents who were separated from their children. Do you know what kind of damage has been done to children and families across this country, children who will never get to see their parents again? Do you understand the magnitude of that?” Whitaker resolved with “Congresswoman, the responsibility for the arrests and the detention and together with the custody of the children was handled by DHS and HHS before those people were ever transferred to DOJ custody through the U.S. Marshals.” Watch above via CNN.