Barr's testimony to House on Mueller in doubt amid dispute

Barr arrives for a press conference about the release of the Mueller Report at the Department of Justice

Brendan Smialowski AFP Getty Images

U.S. Attorney General William Barr has warned House Democrats to change the format for his hearing before the judiciary committee this week or he won't attend.

A senior Democratic committee aide said Sunday that Barr risks being subpoenaed if he refuses to testify over his objections to the lawmakers' desired format for the hearing.

Nadler has proposed that each member be allowed to question Barr for five minutes.

Nadler has also proposed to have the committee enter a closed session to discuss redacted sections of special counsel Robert Mueller's report, according to CNN.

A Justice Department official said discussions are ongoing.

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Barr has opposed the additional round of questioning, CNN first reported.

But, per the source, Barr has objected to being questioned by committee lawyers.

Barr is at the center of the Russia investigation and the man behind the release of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report, which contains the findings of his almost two-year investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

If Barr doesn't comply with the committee's requests, Nadler said, "then we will have to subpoena him, and we will have to use whatever means we can to enforce the subpoena".

The DOJ objects to counselors' questioning because "members of Congress should be the ones doing the questioning", department spokesman Kerri Kupec told The Hill. "The Democratic members have been almost unanimous in their opinion that circumstances warrant extended questioning, including by counsel".

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Nadler threatened to subpoena Barr if he skips the hearing.

Barr released redacted versions of the Mueller report earlier this month, but Democrats have been calling for the release of the full report. Barr's decision to hold a press conference the morning before the report was released was seen by Democrats as a blatant attempt to spin the report in defense of the President.

'Democrats have yet to prove their demands are anything but abusive and illogical in light of the transparency and good faith the attorney general has shown our committee, ' Jessica Andrews said. It's the subject of Thursday's hearing, in which Democratic and Republican counsels are to question Barr about the report. Other times committee counsel have been involved in questioning include the Iran-Contra and Whitewater hearings.

Barr's most recent offer was that a select group of lawmakers, including several committee chairs and ranking members, be allowed to view the redacted information, except for passages that cite grand jury testimony.

AG William Barr testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. "What actual precedent is there for our committee making such demands of a sitting attorney general as part of our oversight duties?" McGahn was a vital witness for Mueller in the report, which recounted the president's outrage over the Mueller investigation and his efforts to curtail it.

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