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Attorney General William Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

'What Are You Trying to Hide?' Democrats Threaten Subpoena as Barr Suggests Canceling Testimony

"The witness is not going to tell the committee how to conduct its hearing, period," said Rep. Jerry Nadler

Jake Johnson

With Attorney General William Barr reportedly threatening to cancel his scheduled testimony before the House Judiciary Committee this week over objections to the format of the hearing, Rep. Jerry Nadler warned Sunday that he is prepared to issue a subpoena if Barr refuses to appear.

"The witness is not going to tell the committee how to conduct its hearing, period," Nadler, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told CNN amid reports that Barr took issue with a plan to allow committee lawyers from both parties to question the attorney general.

If Barr refuses to testify, said Nadler, "then we will have to subpoena him, and we will have to use whatever means we can to enforce the subpoena."

Barr, who faced widespread criticism over his handling of the Mueller report rollout, is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Barr is also slated to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

According to CNN, which first reported on Barr's objections to the proposed hearing format in the House, Nadler "wants to allow all members of his panel at Thursday's hearing to have one round of questioning of five minutes each."

"He also wants to allow for a subsequent round of questioning of 30 minutes for each side, allowing both parties' committee counsels to also engage in questioning during their respective turns—which has turned into a key sticking point for the Justice Department," CNN reported.

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee said Barr's objections are illegitimate.

"Last term multiple members of the Justice Dept sat for HOURS being questioned by staff counsel. Why was it okay for GOP to use staff counsel but not Dems?" Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) asked on Twitter.

Speaking to CNN on Sunday, Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) said Democrats are prepared to "fully use our subpoena power."

"It is not up to Attorney General Barr to tell our committee how to operate, and I will be puzzled if he actually decides not to show," Dean said.


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