On Wednesday, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said that his committee “may very well” pursue impeachment of Attorney General William Barr, who’s now set to testify before the committee in late July.
Nadler, a New York Democrat who had threatened Barr with a subpoena, is investigating the attorney general in response to growing calls to impeach Barr.
Nadler said over the weekend that pursuing impeachment would be a “waste of time” because of the Republican-led Senate.
“We’re looking into that, we may very well,” Nadler said Wednesday when asked if he was considering impeachment of Barr, following a hearing where two Department of Justice prosecutors accused Barr of politicizing investigations and the sentencing of Roger Stone — a friend of President Donald Trump.
Asked why his view had changed, Nadler said: “I think the weight of the evidence and what’s happened leads to that conclusion.”
The announcement that Barr would testify came after a win for the Justice Department in court for dismissal of former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s case, and as the House Judiciary hearing with Justice Department employees testifying against Barr was beginning.
“The Attorney General has accepted an invitation to appear before the House Judiciary Committee for a general oversight hearing on July 28,” Justice Department spokeswoman Karri Kupec tweeted Wednesday.
Although Barr’s upcoming hearing is being billed as the panel’s annual oversight hearing with the attorney general, congressional Democrats are fuming in recent weeks about a number of episodes involving Barr, including a weekend of drama where he and Trump fired Geoffrey Berman, the powerful prosecutor who led the Manhattan US attorney’s office, which has pursued Trump and his allies.
Democrats are also calling for new investigations into the DOJ’s role in the forceful clearing of protesters from Lafayette Square ahead of Trump’s photo-op, outside St. John’s Church earlier this month.
Barr who was present for the photo-op had defended the actions of law enforcement officers in clearing the protesters, claiming the Park Police simply wanted a larger security perimeter around the White House.
Lawmakers will also likely question Barr on the Flynn and Roger Stone cases.
The attorney general has come under fire for dropping the criminal prosecution of Trump’s former national security adviser, after Flynn admitted his guilt under oath, and for overriding career prosecutors’ recommendations for a harsh sentence for Stone, a longtime political adviser and friend of Trump.
Barr has been acting on a number of high level cases this year, picking up enemies along the way.