Washington — Attorney General William Barr will testify Tuesday in what is likely to be a contentious hearing before the House Judiciary Committee. His appearance comes as the Justice Department faces scrutiny over its handling of cases involving allies of President Trump and its response to civil unrest across the country.
In his prepared opening statement, Barr chides Democrats for painting him as a puppet of President Trump and questions their motives for calling on him to testify.
“Ever since I made it clear that I was going to do everything I could to get to the bottom of the grave abuses involved in the bogus ‘Russiagate’ scandal, many of the Democrats on this Committee have attempted to discredit me by conjuring up a narrative that I am simply the President’s factotum who disposes of criminal cases according to his instructions,” Barr will say, according to the opening statement released Monday.
His testimony before the committee’s 40 members marks his first time appearing before the Democrat-led panel. The Judiciary Committee has been increasingly focused on possible politicization of the Justice Department under Barr’s tenure following episodes involving Michael Flynn, Mr. Trump ‘s former national security adviser, and Roger Stone, his longtime ally, as well as the dismissal of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in the Southern District of New York.
In addition to questions about the Justice Department’s handling of Stone’s and Flynn’s cases, Barr is also likely to be pressed by lawmakers about the federal response to protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May.
The hearing was supposed to kick off at 10 a.m., but House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler was involved in a car accident on his way to Washington. He was not hurt, but the hearing will be delayed until 10:45 a.m.
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