The House Judiciary Committee is preparing a subpoena to obtain Attorney General William Barr’s testimony July 2, Chairman Jerrold Nadler said Monday night.
“We have begun the process to issue that subpoena,” Nadler said on MSNBC, confirming an Axios report that a subpoena was being teed up.
It’s a reversal for the panel after Nadler (D-N.Y.) indicated earlier this month that a subpoena — which Barr is sure to contest — would not be worth the House’s time.
“I am not going to spend months litigating a subpoena with an Attorney General who has already spent years resisting the courts and legitimate congressional oversight,” Nadler said June 2.
Barr has yet to testify before the House Judiciary Committee since taking his post early last year.
He initially defied a request to appear after Democrats said they intended to use committee counsel to question him. He was slated to appear March 31, but the hearing was postponed as the coronavirus outbreak derailed the Washington agenda. Nadler called off a June hearing after the Justice Department indicated Barr was subject to a White House prohibition on testimony amid the coronavirus crisis.
It’s unclear if the Justice Department is working with the committee to set a hearing with Barr, but it will come a week after two Justice Department officials are slated testify to the Judiciary Committee about what they allege has been political interference by Barr into typically independent investigations and processes, including the sentencing of longtime Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone.
Pressure on Democrats to investigate Barr ramped up over the weekend due to Barr’s abrupt effort to remove Manhattan’s top federal prosecutor, Geoffrey Berman, who has been overseeing multiple investigations connected to Trump’s business and associates. Berman agreed to leave Saturday.