House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler is threatening to subpoena Attorney General Bill Barr. Barr threatened to back out of scheduled and voluntary testimony on Thursday after Nadler changed the ground rules for the hearing. Nadler wants Committee attorneys, in addition to lawmakers, to ask questions about the Mueller report. He argues this is standard practice and that Barr should comply.
But according to Republican Senator Tom Cotton, who used to be in the House, Nadler's demands for this format style are unusual.
"Typically the way we handle these hearings, for better or worse, on Capitol Hill is that the senators and the representatives on both sides alternate for five to seven minutes apiece. And you don’t have the staff questioning a witness. Now that has been done in certain extraordinary occasions in our lifetimes, but that is usually something negotiated with the witness," Cotton told Salem Radio Network host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday morning. "So the Attorney General of the United States is well within past practice here of saying that he is willing to come and spend two to three hours with the traditional format, but he’s not going to subject himself to a daylong interrogation by staffers who are not elected by the American people to represent them in Washington."
"This is not just a matter for the Judiciary Committee and the Attorney General. Cabinet members are always busy. They always need to come up for oversight on a periodic basis, but it’s always subject to negotiations around their schedule and their availability in these formats," he continued. "I’ll just say this to Chairman Nadler and the Democrats. If they are incapable of going toe to toe with Bill Barr, if they have put people on the Judiciary Committee who are not skilled questioners and talented attorneys, that’s a you problem. Why should Bill Barr accommodate their failures and the fact that they don’t have talented lawyers on the committee who can go toe to toe with a talented lawyer like Bill Barr? Why should he bend over backwards to accommodate them? They should be able to do the basic job that their voters elected them to do, which is to conduct oversight of the executive branch."
As of Tuesday morning, an agreement between DOJ and Nadler has not been reached.