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Barr to testify before House Judiciary panel

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrHouse Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists Judge temporarily blocks release of Trump obstruction memo Garland pledges review of DOJ policies amid controversy 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 TrumpDOJ asks Supreme Court to revive Boston Marathon bomber death sentence, in break with Biden vow Biden looking to build momentum for Putin meeting DOJ tells media execs that reporters were not targets of investigations 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 StoneFeds charge members of Three Percenters militia group over Jan. 6 attack Biden's anti-corruption memo is good news — and essential to US national security Legal intrigue swirls over ex-Trump exec Weisselberg: Five key points 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 SchumerIn Congress, what goes on behind closed doors? Senate Judiciary begins investigation into DOJ lawmaker subpoenas America needs a stable Israeli government 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 GiulianiSunday shows - Biden foreign policy in focus Giuliani accuses Biden of 'caving in to Iran' Giuliani endorses Republican Curtis Sliwa for NYC mayor 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 Raskin House Democrats to Schumer: Vote again on Jan. 6 probe Democrats claim vindication, GOP cries witch hunt as McGahn finally testifies Trump DOJ seized phone records of New York Times reporters MORE (D-Md.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told The Hill last week.

Updated at 4:13 p.m.