Democrats in Congress have ramped up their criticism of Attorney General Bill Barr in recent days, particularly over his move replacing U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman over the weekend.
Now, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the chairman of the House judiciary committee, has acknowledged that he has opened an investigation into some of Barr’s actions while in office and intends to subpoena him to testify at some point in the near future.
The congressman’s statement came on Monday during an appearance on MSNBC in response to host Rachel Maddow’s question about reports earlier in the day.
“It takes a process”
“Well, we have begun the process — it takes a process — we have begun the process to issue that subpoena,” Nadler said. “Yes, it is very much true, we are doing that.”
Maddow went on to ask him what expectations he would put in place for Barr to either comply with or defy the order.
“Well, we don’t know that,” Nadler responded. “Subpoenas are supposed to be respected, obviously, but the corruption of the attorney general, of Barr, may lead him to try to defy it.”
He went on to hint at “other remedies” lawmakers have in order to compel Barr’s compliance, including the elimination of his “office budget.” The host went on to clarify that Nadler had been referring to the U.S. Department of Justice budget.
The topic soon switched to the decision to push Berman out of his high-profile prosecutorial position. Nadler indicated that Berman has also been called to testify before Congress, going on to accuse Barr and President Donald Trump of improperly interfering in investigations currently underway in the U.S. attorney’s office.
Jordan’s letter to Barr
Axios first reported that Nadler intended to subpoena the attorney general, citing confirmation from a spokesperson for the judiciary committee. If issued, the hearing is tentatively scheduled for July 2.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a ranking committee member, penned a letter in which he lambasted Nadler for his perceived animosity toward the attorney general.
Jordan further noted that Barr had already agreed to testify voluntarily during a hearing in March that was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. He suggested a subpoena would not be necessary to convince Barr to testify at a later date.
Some Republicans believe Nadler and others on that side of the aisle have had a vendetta against Barr since he was confirmed for his current post. It remains to be seen whether Barr’s recent actions will give Democrats something tangible to pursue.