Attorney General William Barr will no longer testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, as Democrats voted to allow staffers to question Barr.
“It’s a shame Members of the House Judiciary Committee won’t get the opportunity to hear from Attorney General Barr this Thursday, because Chairman Nadler chose to torpedo our hearing. The attorney general gave clear, informative testimony in the Senate Wednesday, as he offered to do more than a month ago in the House tomorrow,” Republican Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement Wednesday about the scheduled hearing with Barr.
“By rejecting the chance to question Attorney General Barr or read the materials he’s provided, Democrats are trying to prolong an investigation the special counsel completed. Ultimately, though, they’re ignoring the will of the majority of Americans who want Congress to move on and secure our border and continue to strengthen our economy,” he continued.
The House Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to allow staff lawyers to question Barr, adding an extra hour to his testimony time before the committee. This comes as Barr threatened to cancel his testimony before the committee Thursday over disagreements with Democrats regarding the format for the hearing.
He wanted the traditional five-minute rounds of lawmakers asking him questions instead of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler’s proposal of allowing committee staffers to question Barr about their concerns.
Nadler, a New York Democrat, issued a subpoena to Barr on April 19 asking for special counsel Robert Mueller’s full, unredacted report.
“Today, the Attorney General testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee for over five hours. The Attorney General also voluntarily released the Special Counsel’s confidential report with minimal redactions to Congress and the public, made an even-less redacted report available to Chairman Nadler and congressional leadership (which they have refused to review), and made himself available to the Committee by volunteering to testify this week. Unfortunately, even after the Attorney General volunteered to testify, Chairman Nadler placed conditions on the House Judiciary Committee hearing that are unprecedented and unnecessary,” Department of Justice spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement.
“Congress and the Executive branch are co-equal branches of government, and each have a constitutional obligation to respect and accommodate one another’s legitimate interests. Chairman Nadler’s insistence on having staff question the Attorney General, a Senate-confirmed Cabinet member, is inappropriate. Further, in light of the fact that the majority of the House Judiciary Committee – including Chairman Nadler – are themselves attorneys, and the Chairman has the ability and authority to fashion the hearing in a way that allows for efficient and thorough questioning by the Members themselves, the Chairman’s request is also unnecessary. The Attorney General remains happy to engage directly with Members on their questions regarding the report and looks forward to continue working with the Committee on their oversight requests,” Kupec continued.
Attorney General William Barr arrives to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee May 1, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
In a letter to Barr, Nadler said he had until Wednesday to deliver the full report, adding he “cannot accept any proposal which leaves most of Congress in the dark.” Barr has already pledged to give a version of the report where the only redactions will be grand jury info, which is illegal to share, but Nadler still issued the subpoena.
Both Democrats and Republicans have called for Mueller’s report to be made public in full. Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan also said anything related to Mueller’s probe should be released to the public. (RELATED: House Judiciary Committee Votes To Allow Staff Lawyers To Question Barr)
Democrats and cable news pundits have said the Mueller report is a cover-up.