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Attorney General Bill Barr. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr has canceled his scheduled appearance before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, after the panel voted today to allow an extra hour of questioning by staff lawyers against the objections of the Justice Department. The committee will still hold the hearing without Barr at 9 a.m.

What's next: House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler had previously pledged to subpoena Barr should he refuse to testify. If Barr ignores the subpoena, as several Trump administration officials have done, Democrats on the committee have indicated that they will move to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress.

Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec in a statement on Wednesday evening called it "inappropriate" for Nadler to ask staff to question Barr.

"Chairman Nadler's insistence on having staff question the Attorney General, a Senate-confined Cabinet member, is inappropriate. Further, in light of the fact that the majority of the House Judiciary Committee — including Chairman Nadler — are themselves attorneys, and the Chairman has the ability and authority to fashion the hearing in a way that allows for efficient and thorough questioning by the Members themselves, the Chairman’s request is also unnecessary."
— The statement reads

The big picture: Barr testified Wednesday before the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee, an appearance that left a number of congressional and 2020 Democrats calling for his resignation. Barr defended himself against the latest bombshell surrounding his work — yesterday's revelation of a letter from special counsel Robert Mueller objecting to how the attorney general's 4-page summary of the report had characterized its contents.

Go deeper: Barr unrepentant in Senate Judiciary testimony

Go deeper

Updated 45 mins ago - Health

U.K. first nation to clear Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for mass rollout

A health care worker during the phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial by the Pfizer and BioNTech in Ankara, Turkey, in October. Photo: Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's government announced Wednesday it's approved Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, which "will be made available across the U.K. from next week."

Why it matters: The U.K. has beaten the U.S. to become the first Western country to give emergency approval for a vaccine against a virus that's killed nearly 1.5 million people globally.

3 hours ago - World

NYT: Biden won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President-elect Joe Biden during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.

Trump threatens to veto Defense spending bill over social media shield

Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday a threat to veto a must-pass end-of-year $740 billion bill defense-spending authorization bill unless Congress repeals a federal law that protects social media sites from legal liability.

Why it matters: Trump's attempt to get Congress to end the tech industry protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the latest escalation in his war on tech giants over what he and some other Republicans perceive as bias against conservatives.