Attorney General William Barr has agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee next month amid threats from Chairman Jerrold Nadler of subpoenas and a possible impeachment inquiry, his spokesperson announced.
Barr will deliver his testimony on July 28, at what his spokeswoman described as a “general oversight hearing.”
No mention is made of what other topics will be discussed, but the testimony will come at an especially fraught time between Barr and Nadler (D-NY).
Judiciary Democrats are currently investigating two issues with relation to Barr: his decision to fire a top federal prosecutor who was investigating Rudy Giuliani, and allegations that Justice Department prosecutors were told explicitly that political considerations influenced the handling of the case of Roger Stone, a longtime Trump associate.
That allegation comes from Aaron Zelinsky, a career Justice Department prosecutor who worked on cases as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, including the case against Stone.
Zelinsky, one of four lawyers who quit the Stone case after the department overruled their sentencing recommendation, testified before the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
He said in his testimony that he was told in no uncertain terms, “Stone was being treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the president.”
On the issue of the top federal prosecutor, Nadler and his panel have pledged to investigate the firing of Geoffrey Berman — following an extraordinary standoff over the independence of one of the country’s most important federal prosecutor’s office.
The US attorney for the Southern District of New York had been investigating the president’s private lawyer, Rudy Giuliani before his ouster.
Barr announced last Friday that Berman was stepping down and that US Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton would be his successor.
Berman refused to resign until the Senate confirmed his successor, and said his office’s investigations would continue.
Only after Barr agreed to let Berman’s deputy Audrey Strauss to take the reins, did Berman agree to step down.
Nadler slammed Barr over the firing of Berman over the weekend, arguing that he deserved to be impeached for his actions while cautioning that the effort would be a “waste of time.”
The New York Democrat argued that Senate Republicans would block any of their efforts to impeach Barr.
On Monday, as rumors circulated about the potential for the committee to hit Barr with a subpoena, the committee’s Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) wrote Nadler a letter urging him instead to privately find a mutually agreeable date for the attorney general to testify.
The effort appears to have been successful, as a date was announced within two days.
With testimony set, Barr spokeswoman Kerri Kupec is hitting back at the House Democrats, calling their threats to impeach the attorney general a “political thing.”
Speaking to Fox News on Wednesday, Kupec said, “If people have a problem with Bill Barr coming back to the Department of Justice to restore one system of justice, not a two-tiered system, I think that says a lot more about the critics than it does about the attorney general.”
With Post wires
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