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Barr to testify before House Judiciary panel

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrPolice accountability board concludes that Seattle police officers used excessive force during encounters with protesters Trump hasn't asked Barr to open investigation into Bidens, McEnany says Seattle, Portland, NYC sue Trump administration over threat to pull federal money 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 TrumpObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Pence's chief of staff tests positive for COVID-19 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 StoneTrump grants clemency to five nonviolent offenders Trump remarks put pressure on Barr DOJ veteran says he's quitting over Barr's 'slavish obedience' to Trump 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 SchumerTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Trump announces opening of relations between Sudan and Israel Five takeaways on Iran, Russia election interference 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 GiulianiBiden pushes back on Trump: 'Crass' to go after political rival's children Trump leans into attacks on Biden's family, business dealings Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 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 RaskinCongress must repeal tax breaks for the wealthy passed in CARES Act COVID-19 and the problem of presidential succession Warren, Porter to headline progressive fundraiser supporting seven swing state candidates MORE (D-Md.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told The Hill last week.

Updated at 4:13 p.m.