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Nadler: Calls to impeach Barr are 'waste of time'
01:38 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said Wednesday 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 of what’s happened leads to that conclusion.”

The announcement that Barr would testify came after a win for the Justice Department in court Wednesday for a 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 28th,” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec tweeted Wednesday.

Barr’s upcoming hearing is being billed as the panel’s annual oversight hearing with the attorney general, but congressional Democrats have been 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.

One of the prosecutors in the Stone case testified before the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, accusing Barr and DOJ leaders of pressuring the acting US Attorney for the District of Columbia to recommend a lighter sentence for Stone because of Stone’s relationship with the President.

This story has been updated with additional background.

CNN’s Nicky Robertson and Manu Raju contributed to this report.