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Thanks, Jerry: Barr May Skip His House Judiciary Testimony Because Of You

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Attorney General William Barr threatened to skip testifying in front of the House Judiciary Committee if the format Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) proposed is what's used for the hearing later this week. Nadler wanted each member of the Committee to have five minutes each to ask Barr whatever questions they saw fit in relation to the redacted areas of the Mueller report. The second round of questioning would include 30 minutes from each parties' Committee counselors. According to CNN, the questioning from the parties' Committee counselors is what the Department of Justice takes issue with.

"He [Barr] is not going to dictate the format of the Judiciary Committee," Nadler told reporters. He said that each member having five minutes to ask questions followed by each parties' Committee counselors having 30 minutes for questions is "a standard method of doing things."

"In my judgment, it's an effective way of doing things," Nadler said. "And the witness is not going to tell the Committee how to conduct its hearing. Period."

The DOJ objects to counselors' questioning because "members of Congress should be the ones doing the questioning," department spokesman Kerri Kupec told The Hill

“The Attorney General agreed to appear before Congress. 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," Kupec said.

If Barr refuses to comply with the Judiciary Committee, Nadler said the members are prepared to subpoena the Attorney General.

"Then we will have to subpoena him, and we will have to use whatever means we can to enforce the subpoena," Nadler said.

Nadler has also suggested the Committee go into closed session to discuss the redacted report, something Barr also objects to.

House Judiciary Committee Republicans chided Nadler's fight with Barr.

"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," the Committee Republicans' spokesperson 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."

Barr is scheduled to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. 

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