Dem lawmaker says Barr will be subpoenaed if he fails to show for House hearing

Dem lawmaker says Barr will be subpoenaed if he fails to show for House hearing
© Greg Nash

Democratic Caucus chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesHouse Democrat pushes for censuring Trump in closed-door meeting Ocasio-Cortez top aide emerges as lightning rod amid Democratic feud This week: House Democrats voting to hold Barr, Ross in contempt MORE (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that Democrats would issue a subpoena against Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet House poised to hold Barr, Ross in contempt Harris campaign accepts money from partners of law firm she criticized over Epstein case MORE if he skipped Thursday's House Judiciary Committee hearing. 

“We plan on subpoenaing him if he decides not to show up. He can run but he can’t hide,” Jeffries told reporters, according to Reuters

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The comments came just hours after Barr wrapped up his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on his handling of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE's report. Barr was scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee a day later. 

However, the Justice Department said Wednesday night that Barr would skip the hearing due to what it described as "unprecedented and unnecessary" conditions imposed by committee chair Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerTrump knocks Mueller after deal struck for him to testify House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta Nadler apologized after repeatedly calling Hope Hicks 'Ms. Lewandowski' at hearing MORE (D-N.Y.). 

A Justice Department spokesperson said that Nadler's insistence on having committee counsels question Barr after members grilled him was "inappropriate."

"Congress and the Executive branch are co-equal branches of government, and each have a constitutional obligation to respect and accommodate one another’s legitimate interests. Chairman Nadler’s insistence on having staff question the Attorney General, a Senate-confirmed Cabinet member, is inappropriate," Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement.
 
The statement added that Barr "remains happy to engage directly with Members on their questions regarding the report and looks forward to continue working with the Committee on their oversight requests."
 
The Judiciary Committee is expected to hold the hearing despite the attorney general's absence. Nadler, who accused the Trump administration of trying to dictate the terms of the hearing, told reporters that he hopes Barr will think over his decision tonight and appear before the committee. 
 
Nadler told CNN earlier this week that Democrats would have to subpoena Barr if he skipped the hearing. 
 
Barr has faced increased scrutiny from Democrats ever since he released a four-page letter in March summarizing the findings of Mueller's investigation into Russian interference and whether Trump committed obstruction of justice. 
 
Mueller's probe did not uncover evidence to conclude that conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow took place. However, the report noted that Mueller could not “conclusively determine” that no criminal conduct occurred in regard to obstruction of justice. It was revealed Tuesday evening that Mueller wrote to Barr twice in March to raise concerns about his characterization of the report in his letter to Congress.