Attorney General Bill Barr threatened to not show up to this week’s hearing before the House Judiciary Committee unless they scrap their proposed plan to have committee counsel do a round of questioning.
Barr threatened to no-show the Thursday hearing about his release of the Bob Mueller report after Chairman Jerrold Nadler proposed one 30-minute round of questioning by both parties’ committee counsels after one round of five-minute questioning by each committee member. Nadler also wants the hearing to be in private so the committee can question Barr about the redacted portions of the report.
"The attorney general agreed to appear before Congress," Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec told CNN. "Therefore, members of Congress should be the ones doing the questioning. He remains happy to engage with members on their questions regarding the Mueller report."
Barr is also scheduled to testify before the Republican-run Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. That hearing is expected to take place as scheduled.
Nadler rejects Barr’s complaints:
“The witness is not going to tell the committee how to conduct its hearing, period,” Nadler told CNN Sunday.
Asked what he would do if Barr refused to attend, Nadler said, "Then we will have to subpoena him, and we will have to use whatever means we can to enforce the subpoena."
Rep. Madeleine Dean, a Pennsylvania Democrat who serves on the committee, told CNN that “it is not up to Attorney General Barr to tell our committee how to operate, and will I be puzzled if he actually decides not to show.”
“The chairman has subpoena power, and we’ll have to go to a court of law and either hold him in contempt or have him come in, but I hope that cooler heads prevail,” Dean added.
House GOP continues to run interference for Trump:
Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee continued to do President Trump’s dirty work, issuing a statement accusing Democrats of “abusive” actions by wanting attorneys from both sides to question the attorney general.
"The only thing, apparently, that will satisfy Democrats, who refuse to read the less-redacted report, is to have staff pinch hit when a cabinet official appears before us," a spokesperson for the GOP members told CNN. "What actual precedent is there for our committee making such demands of a sitting attorney general as part of our oversight duties? The attorney general isn't a fact witness, and this committee's investigations — as Democrat leadership reminds us daily — don't constitute impeachment, so Democrats have yet to prove their demands anything but abusive and illogical in light of the transparency and good faith the attorney general has shown our committee."