Barr to testify before House Judiciary panel

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump prizes loyalty over competence — we are seeing the results Rep. Raúl Grijalva tests positive for COVID-19 'Unmasking' Steele dossier source: Was confidentiality ever part of the deal? 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 TrumpOklahoma City Thunder players kneel during anthem despite threat from GOP state lawmaker Microsoft moving forward with talks to buy TikTok after conversation with Trump Controversial Trump nominee placed in senior role after nomination hearing canceled 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 StoneNew HBO documentary lets Gaetz, Massie, Buck offer their take on how to 'drain the swamp' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Brawls on Capitol Hill on Barr and COVID-19 Democrats blister Barr during tense hearing 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 SchumerMeadows: 'I'm not optimistic there will be a solution in the very near term' on coronavirus package Biden calls on Trump, Congress to enact an emergency housing program Senators press Postal Service over complaints of slow delivery 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 GiulianiNunes declines to answer if he received information from Ukraine lawmaker meant to damage Biden Democratic attorneys criticize House Judiciary Democrats' questioning of Barr Swalwell: Barr has taken Michael Cohen's job as Trump's fixer 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 RaskinFive takeaways from Fauci's testimony GOP lawmakers comply with Pelosi's mask mandate for House floor Five takeaways as panel grills tech CEOs MORE (D-Md.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told The Hill last week.

Updated at 4:13 p.m.