- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Attorney General William Barr has accepted an invitation to testify before the House Judiciary Committee next month, Chairman Jerrold Nadler said Wednesday.

Mr. Barr is scheduled to testify March 31.

The agreement ends a yearlong dispute that began when Mr. Barr refused to appear before the committee to discuss former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Mr. Barr balked at testifying because Democrats wanted committee lawyers and staff to ask questions instead of lawmakers, an unusual move for a public congressional hearing.

Democrats have long sought answers about allegations of political interference influencing decision-making at the Justice Department. Those claims were ratcheted up this week after Mr. Barr’s apparent intervention in the sentencing of President Trump’s longtime friend and onetime political adviser Roger Stone.

Stone was convicted in November of lying to Congress, obstructing justice and witness tampering. Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington sought a sentence of seven to nine years, but the Justice Department reversed course and asked for a “far less” sentence.

The reversal came hours after Mr. Trump railed against Stone’s criminal case. Four prosecutors abruptly withdrew from the case — with one resigning from the Justice Department altogether — in the aftermath.

But Stone isn’t the only issue Democrats want to grill Mr. Barr on. They also want to ask him about the “process” the Justice Department set up to collect evidence from Ukraine and its handling of a whistleblower complaint the department determined should not be shared with Congress.

“Since President Trump took office, we have repeatedly warned you and your predecessors that the misuse of our criminal justice system for political purposes is both dangerous to our democracy and unacceptable to the House Judiciary Committee,” Mr. Nadler, New York Democrat, wrote in a letter confirming the attorney general’s testimony.

“In your tenure as attorney general, you have engaged in a pattern of conduct in legal matters relating to the president that raises significant concerns for this committee,” the letter continued. “In the past week alone, you have taken steps that raise grave questions about your leadership of the Department of Justice.”

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide