Attorney General William Barr said he bailed on his scheduled appearance in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday due to a dispute with Democrats over questioning procedures, but House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) didn’t buy his reasoning.
“The administration, the attorney general, apparently is afraid of proper cross-examination,” Nadler told reporters after the no-show.
“We ask questions under the five-minute rule, and we’ve seen a pattern from this administration,” he added. “The administration’s witnesses fillibuster for four-and-a-half minutes and then give a nonresponsive answer for the next half a minute.”
Nadler said they wanted a procedure where they could have counsel after the five-minute questioning to follow up on answers so that Barr can’t “evade as easily.”
“Obviously, the attorney general is afraid to face that kind of questioning,” Nadler said. “What we saw today is, besides the attitude of contempt the administration has for Congress, what we saw is fear. Fear of effective cross-examination. Period.”
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"The attorney general apparently is afraid of proper cross examination," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said after William Barr failed to appear before the committee https://t.co/3mq7FTP7vY pic.twitter.com/0j11M5aLCE
— POLITICO (@politico) May 2, 2019
Nadler took his criticism a step further and threatened legal action against the attorney general.
“We will have no choice but to move quickly to hold the attorney general in contempt if he stalls or fails to negotiate in good faith,” the New York congressman said at a committee hearing Thursday that took place of the would-be questioning of Barr.
Barr testified to the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, but many Democrats were not satisfied with his answers.