Attorney General William Barr has agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee next month, the panel’s chairman Jerry Nadler said Wednesday, giving them a forum to press the attorney general on the sentencing of Roger Stone and other controversies that have emerged in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
Nadler and the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee wrote a letter to Barr on Wednesday that said they were confirming his testimony on March 31. In the letter, the Democrats signaled they plan to question Barr about three topics among other issues: overruling prosecutors on Stone’s recommended sentence, the arrangement for the President’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to provide information on Ukraine and the pulled nomination of Jessie Liu, who ran the US attorney’s office in Washington when it prosecuted the Stone case.
Nadler wrote that the three developments over the past week “raise grave questions about your leadership” at the Justice Departments.
“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,” Nadler wrote. “These are not the only issues that our Committee intends to discuss with you when you appear, but they are enough to require our immediate attention.”
The attorney general attending a hearing for the Judiciary Committee, which provides oversight of the Justice Department, is typical each year, as Cabinet officials across the federal government march to Capitol Hill after the budget is released.
But Barr has not testified before the committee since he was confirmed at attorney general last year. Barr has been in a prolonged standoff with the committee, and even boycotted a hearing last spring about former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report after committee Democrats insisted on allowing staff attorneys to question him.
The committee voted to approve holding Barr in contempt, although the panel eventually struck an agreement to view documents related to the Mueller investigation from the Justice Department.
Then-acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, who preceded Barr, testified before the panel in February 2019.