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Barr to testify in House oversight hearing next month

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Merrick Garland on list to be Biden's attorney general: report DOJ dropping charges against ex-Mexican defense minister MORE will testify before the House Judiciary Committee next month as Democrats on the panel seek to investigate his decision to fire a top prosecutor in Manhattan.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec confirmed on Twitter that the president's top law enforcement official will participate in a general oversight hearing in late July.

"The Attorney General has accepted an invitation to appear before the House Judiciary Committee for a general oversight hearing on July 28th," Kupec tweeted.

The confirmation comes just minutes after Judiciary Democrats convened a hearing to hear from two Justice Department officials, described as "whistleblowers," who are expected to testify about the agency becoming politicized under Barr and President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerDemocrats accuse GSA of undermining national security by not certifying Biden win Barr sparks DOJ firestorm with election probes memo Marijuana stocks see boost after Harris debate comments MORE (D-N.Y.) threatened earlier this week to subpoena Barr to testify before the committee in early July, but Barr has agreed to appear later in the month.

Democrats began sharpening their knives for Barr over the weekend following the sudden departure of Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York who was spearheading several investigations into Trump and his inner circle, including personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiJake Tapper jokes he's retained Giuliani to look into fraud in 'Sexiest Man' election Pioneering New York City Mayor David Dinkins dies at 93 Trump transition order follows chorus of GOP criticism MORE.

Berman on Friday night said he would refuse to step down, leading Trump to formally fire him. Shortly after Berman’s firing, Nadler vowed that his panel would launch an investigation into the ouster.

Berman was able to tap Deputy U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss to serve as his acting successor before he was officially let go. Strauss is expected to press forward with several of the investigative threads that led Berman to emerge as persona non grata among Trump and his circle. 

Berman successfully prosecuted Trump’s personal lawyer Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenPress: Trump's biggest fear is — lock him up Biden faces politically thorny decision on Trump prosecutions New York expands Trump tax fraud investigations to include write-offs: report MORE, and he is said to be examining Giuliani's lobbying work in Ukraine as well as allegations that Trump shielded a state-run Turkish bank from prosecution.

Democrats, however, have a grab bag of matters that they want to press the attorney general on, including the Justice Department's handling of cases related to the president's friends and allies such as Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneWashington braces for unpredictable post-election period Like it or not, a Trump self-pardon may be coming soon This election is headed to the courts, but Democrats have lawyers too MORE and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

They also want to grill him about his recent role in the clearing of peaceful protesters outside the White House so that Trump could stage a photo-op in front of a historic church that was vandalized during protests demonstrating against police brutality and the police killing of George Floyd.

Last year, Democrats voted to hold Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossCentral Asia is changing: the Biden administration should pay close attention Census Bureau can't meet Trump's deadline for data on undocumented immigrants: report On The Money: Trump makes a late pitch on the economy | US economy records record GDP gains after historic COVID-19 drop | Pelosi eyes big COVID-19 deal in lame duck MORE in criminal contempt of Congress for defying congressional subpoenas, but no action was taken to prosecute these two top officials because the Justice Department, which makes such decisions, is run by Barr.

Democrats were skeptical that Barr would agree to testify, but the announcement Wednesday will come as a pleasant surprise.