William Barr testify House on March 31, Report.
Attorney General William Barr has agreed to testify before the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee at the end of March after rebuffing requests to appear before the panel for the past year.
The deal came as Democrats, including Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, of Manhattan, had raised alarm this week over Barr’s interceding in the sentencing recommendation for former Trump political operative Roger Stone, who was convicted by special prosecutors in Washington, DC, last year and was facing up to nine years behind bars.
“We are writing to confirm your agreement to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on March 31, 2020,” Nadler and the 22 other Democratic members of the panel said in a letter to Barr on Wednesday.
The panel said Democrats had “numerous concerns regarding his leadership of the Department of Justice and the President’s improper influence over the Department.”
Barr was initially requested to appear to answer questions about former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe in Russian election meddling.
But the Democrats will now have the opportunity to grill him on more recent matters, including the Stone case and other issues, including his willingness to have the Justice Department examine evidence gathered by Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in Ukraine.
The former New York City mayor claims to have extensive evidence of corruption by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter over the younger Biden’s job as a highly paid member of the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.
Democrats have also raised questions about the removal of ex-DC US Attorney Jessie Liu, who had been nominated to serve as the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes before Trump pulled the nomination.
Liu oversaw the prosecutions of Stone, Trump’s deputy campaign chair Rick Gates and Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
While concentrating on those three issues, they said they planned to grill Barr about other matters as well.
“Since President Trump took office, we have repeatedly warned you and your predecessors that the misuse of our criminal justice system for political purposes is both dangerous to our democracy and unacceptable to the House Judiciary Committee,” the Democrats wrote.
“In your tenure as Attorney General, you have engaged in a pattern of conduct in legal matters relating to the President that raises significant concerns for this Committee,” they added.
On Tuesday, four federal prosecutors in Stone’s criminal trial abruptly withdrew from the case after Justice Department brass called the feds’ initial sentencing recommendation of up to nine years behind bars overly harsh.
Justice said it wanted a shorter prison sentence for Stone than the seven to nine years recommended by the feds hours after Trump called it unfair, but did not offer a specific recommendation, leaving it up to the sentencing judge.
The president had taken to Twitter to call out prosecutors over their proposed sentence for Stone, the self-proclaimed political “dirty trickster” who was found guilty on charges stemming from an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!” the president tweeted early Tuesday.
Stone faces a Feb. 20 sentencing in federal court in DC before Judge Amy Berman Jackson — an appointee of former President Obama — after a jury found him guilty of seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.
Trump said later Tuesday he did not interfere in the case — although he insisted he had “an absolute right” to if he wanted.