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Barr threatens to no-show at House judiciary hearing over format

By
Nicholas Sakelaris
U.S. Attorney General William Barr speaks to reporters on April 18 ahead of his release of a redacted version of the report by spacial counsel Robert Mueller. Photo by Erik S. Lesser/UPI
U.S. Attorney General William Barr speaks to reporters on April 18 ahead of his release of a redacted version of the report by spacial counsel Robert Mueller. Photo by Erik S. Lesser/UPI | License Photo

April 29 (UPI) -- U.S. Attorney General William Barr has warned House Democrats to change the format for his hearing before the judiciary committee this week or he won't attend.

Barr is set to testify before the judiciary committees of the House Thursday and the Senate Wednesday. In both sessions, he'll be questioned about the Justice Department's Russia investigation, which was detailed in a report by special counsel Robert Mueller.

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In addition to the standard five-minute questioning by the House panel, Chairman Jerrold Nadler wants a 30-minute cross-examination by committee counsels to interrogate Barr. Nadler also wants a closed session with Barr to discuss the redacted parts of the Mueller report.

Barr rejected the additional rounds of questioning, CNN, NBC News and the Hill reported.

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"The Attorney General agreed to appear before Congress. Therefore, members of Congress should be the ones doing the questioning," the Department of Justice said in a statement. "He remains happy to engage with members on their questions regarding the Mueller report."

A spokesman for House judiciary Republicans criticized the format set up by the Democrats.

"The attorney general isn't a fact witness, and the committee's investigations -- as Democrat leaderships 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."

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Nadler told CNN Barr would not "dictate the format of the Judiciary Committee."

Democrats met to discuss the additional requests last week and met with the Justice Department Friday. If Barr doesn't comply, Nadler said a subpoena will be necessary, "and we will have to use whatever means we can to enforce the subpoena."

President Donald Trump said his administration would fight all subpoenas, adding, "Democrats are trying to win 2020."

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Democrats had criticized Barr issuing only a brief summary of the Mueller report at first, saying it mischaracterized the findings of the full report. A redacted version of the report was later released after substantial pressure from congressional Democrats.

The report said there's a lack of evidence to show the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 race, but said it could not clear Trump of obstructing justice for his attempts to disrupt subsequent investigations.

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