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Barr to testify before House Judiciary panel

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrNew DOJ rule could allow executions by electrocution, firing squad Clyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts Five federal inmates scheduled for execution before Inauguration Day MORE has agreed to give testimony before the House Judiciary Committee next month amid growing questions over the administration's alleged interference in the criminal case of a close ally of President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE.

Democrats on the panel released a letter Wednesday confirming Barr’s March 31 appearance, saying they are concerned the agency has become politicized under his watch.

“In the interest of transparency, we wish to be candid about one set of concerns we plan to address at the hearing. 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,” they wrote.

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The hearing’s announcement comes amid heightened scrutiny over Barr and the Department of Justice (DOJ) amid Democrats’ concerns that President Trump is influencing the agency.

Barr's appearance comes after the DOJ asked a federal court to sentence longtime Trump adviser Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneFlynn spurs questions of who Trump might pardon next OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Trump pardons Flynn | Lawmakers lash out at decision | Pentagon nixes Thanksgiving dining hall meals due to COVID-19 Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn MORE to "far less" than the seven to nine years department prosecutors had recommended just a day earlier.

The DOJ request came after the president criticized the first sentencing guidance on Twitter as a “horrible and very unfair situation,” leading some Democrats to accuse the DOJ of taking its cues from the White House. 

“This situation has all the indicia of improper political interference in a criminal prosecution,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases The five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden Collins urges voters to turn out in Georgia runoffs MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a letter this week to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

Three of the prosecutors who recommended the longer sentence withdrew from the case on Tuesday, while another resigned from the department.

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Democrats on the Judiciary Committee also said they have concerns over Barr’s decision to create a process through which Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiArizona certifies Biden's victory over Trump Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Trump campaign loses appeal over Pennsylvania race MORE can provide information to the Justice Department from his personal investigations.

“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. In the past week alone, you have taken steps that raise grave questions about your leadership of the Department of Justice,” the Democrats wrote.

“These are not the only issues that our Committee intends to discuss with you when you appear, but they are enough to require our immediate attention,” the wrote.

Barr’s hearing will take place in the aftermath of this month’s acquittal of Trump in the Senate’s impeachment investigation. Democrats have vowed to investigate the administration over new leads of possible wrongdoing or continue with probes that were already underway before the impeachment proceedings ground Washington to a halt.

“Donald Trump, I still believe, is a one-man crime wave, and we can’t let him get away with all of his other offenses against the Constitution and the people,” Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinDemocrats debate fate of Trump probes if Biden wins Congress must repeal tax breaks for the wealthy passed in CARES Act COVID-19 and the problem of presidential succession MORE (D-Md.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told The Hill last week.

Updated at 4:13 p.m.