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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

Senate confirms Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as commerce secretary

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D). Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Senate voted 84-15 on Tuesday to confirm Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo to lead the Commerce Department.

Why it matters: The agency promotes U.S. industry, oversees the Census Bureau, plays a key role in the government's study of climate change through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and evaluates emerging technology through the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Updated 41 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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Supreme Court likely to favor Republican-backed Arizona voting laws

A person walking outside of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 22.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday appeared to favor Republican-backed voting restrictions in Arizona that Democrats argue violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The Justices' decision in the case could weaken Section 2 of the VRA, which prohibits voting practices or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race.