department of justice

Attorney General William Barr to Testify Before House Judiciary Committee on March 31

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Last May, after Attorney General William Barr condensed the whole of the almost two-year Mueller investigation into a four-page memo determining that President Trump had not obstructed justice, Democrats wanted him to explain his process under oath. Though the plan disintegrated when the Attorney General refused to be questioned by committee staff instead of lawmakers, Barr agreed on Wednesday to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on March 31, after lawmakers confirmed his appearance by letter:

Supposing no major scandals break between mid-February and late March — a major assumption in the current administration — the most pressing concern will be the NBC News report that Barr personally intervened in the case of Roger Stone in order to ease prosecutors’ initial sentencing guidelines of seven-to-nine years. (The Department of Justice’s actions toward Stone were so out of the ordinary that all four federal prosecutors on the case withdrew after being overruled.) According to NBC News, the decision was part of Barr’s plan to “take control of legal matters of personal interest to President Donald Trump.” On Wednesday morning, Trump confirmed the report by congratulating Barr for “taking charge of a case that was totally out of control.”

While it’s possible that Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee could address questions dating back to the handling of the Mueller report, the letter on Wednesday suggests more timely concerns are on their minds. In addition to questioning Barr over the DOJ’s override on Stone’s sentencing, the committee will interrogate the attorney general on the removal of U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu, who oversaw the prosecution of Stone and fellow Trump allies Michael Flynn and Rick Gates. Another topic of interest surrounds the admission on Sunday by Senator Lindsey Graham that the Department of Justice has a “process” by which Rudy Giuliani — who is not a government official and is reportedly the subject of a counterintelligence probe — can hand over information for “verification.”

AG William Barr to Testify Before House Judiciary in March