Apr 28, 2019

Barr threatens to cancel House testimony due to hearing format

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

Attorney General Bill Barr may not testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday due to objections over the hearing's format, CNN first reported and several other outlets later confirmed.

Details: House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) has proposed allowing the committee's Democratic and Republican counsels to question Barr about special counsel Robert Mueller's report, which the Justice Department reportedly opposes. Nadler told CNN: "The witness is not going to tell the committee how to conduct its hearing, period." If Barr cancels his appearance, Nadler said he would subpoena him and "use whatever means we can to enforce the subpoena."

  • Barr is also opposed to a committee proposal to move the session to a closed-door setting to discuss the unredacted report.
  • In a statement to CNN, the Justice Department said: "The attorney general agreed to appear before Congress. Therefore, members of Congress should be the ones doing the questioning. He remains happy to engage with members on their questions."

The big picture: Barr's potential boycott could fuel an already heated partisan battle over his behavior in the run-up to the release of the Mueller report. Many Democrats believe Barr's March 26 summary of the report's "principal conclusions" spun Mueller's findings in a favorable light for President Trump and that Barr had no authority to clear Trump on obstruction of justice when Mueller explicitly chose not to.

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Top Trump ally sounds 2020 election alarm over coronavirus response

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

There is growing concern among top conservative leaders that the Trump administration isn't addressing the long-term economic impact of the coronavirus, several sources tell Axios. One top adviser said if the recovery is bungled it could cost President Trump the election.

What we're hearing: "The next 4-8 weeks is really going to decide whether Trump gets reelected," Stephen Moore, Trump's former nominee for the Federal Reserve board, told Axios. If the administration mishandles its economic recovery efforts, he said, Trump is "in big trouble."

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,600,427 — Total deaths: 95,506 — Total recoveries: 354,006Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 465,329 — Total deaths: 16,513 — Total recoveries: 25,410Map.
  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under a CDC public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  4. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — After another 6.6 million jobless claims, here's how to understand the scale of American job decimation.
  5. 2020 latest: Top conservative leaders are concerned the Trump administration isn't addressing the virus' long-term economic impact.
  6. States latest: FEMA has asked governors to decide if they want testing sites to be under state or federal control.
  7. World latest: Lockdowns have led to a decline in murders in some of the world's most violent countries — Boris Johnson is moved out of the ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus.
  8. In Congress: Senate in stalemate over additional funding for small business relief program.
  9. 1 SNL thing: "Saturday Night Live" will return this weekend in a remotely produced episode.
  10. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredPets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Federal court temporarily blocks coronavirus order against some abortions

Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Thursday that clinics in Texas can immediately offer medication abortions — a pregnancy termination method administered by pill — and can also provide the procedure to patients nearing the state's time limits for abortions.

Driving the news: The decision comes after federal appeals court ruled 2-1 on Tuesday in favor of an executive order by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that prohibits abortions during the coronavirus outbreak.

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