Jun 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: House Judiciary prepares to subpoena Attorney General Bill Barr

US Attorney General William Barr testifies during aHouse hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 10, 2019.

US Attorney General William Barr. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) is preparing to subpoena Attorney General Bill Barr for his testimony on July 2, a committee spokesperson confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: The expected subpoena comes after the firing of Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who had been investigating President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

  • The committee's ranking member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) made reference to the subpoena plans in a letter obtained by Axios.
  • Daniel Schwarz, a spokesman for Nadler, confirmed to Axios that the committee is seeking Barr's testimony and intends to subpoena him if he does not agree to testify next week.
  • "There’s certain procedural steps that need to be taken if you were going to send a subpoena, but one of them is consulting the minority," Schwarz said.

The backdrop: Nadler, who has launched an investigation into Berman's removal, has asked Berman to testify before the committee, though it's unclear if and when he will appear.

  • On CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, Nadler said Barr "deserves impeachment," but that doing so is "a waste of time" because Senate Republicans are "corrupt" and will not vote to convict.
  • He added that the committee will do what it can to address Barr's alleged politicization of the Department of Justice (DOJ), and that it plans to hear from two whistleblowers at a hearing this week.

Details: According to the letter, which Jordan sent to Nadler Monday night, House Judiciary Democrats have "indicated" to the committee's Republican members and staff that Nadler plans to issue a subpoena shortly.

  • Nadler has repeatedly called on Barr to testify before the committee about the DOJ's handling of several criminal cases involving former advisers to President Donald Trump, including Roger Stone and Michael Flynn.
  • The Justice Department had originally agreed to allow Barr to testify before the committee on March 31, but the hearing was delayed indefinitely because of COVID-19.
  • In his letter, Jordan says Barr "remains willing to testify voluntarily once the pandemic concludes."
  • Jordan told Nadler that if he insists on issuing a subpoena for Barr’s testimony he will "respectfully object and request an in-person business meeting."

Read the letter via DocumentCloud:

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