Attorney General William Barr will not testify before the House Judiciary Committee Thursday, the Department of Justice has confirmed.
The attorney general was asked to testify before the committee about special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Barr has objected to the committee’s plan to have attorneys from both sides, Democrats and Republicans, do the questioning, alongside lawmakers on the committee.
His refusal to attend the hearing is likely to cause a further rift with congressional Democrats who have accused him of trying to spin Mueller’s report to favor the president.
Barr appeared Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Justice Department says the House Judiciary Committee chairman is trying to place “unprecedented and unnecessary” conditions on the attorney general.
Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec says committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s insistence that congressional staffers be allowed to question Barr is “inappropriate.” Kupec says the attorney general “remains happy to engage directly” with members of the committee to answer their questions.
Nadler accused Barr of canceling his appearance because he’s “terrified” of facing questioning from the panel.
Nadler said Wednesday the “next step” would be to hold Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to provide a fully unredacted copy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
Nadler says Barr is “stonewalling” Congress over the Russia probe and “trying to blackmail the committee” by setting the terms of the hearing. The chairman says he hopes Barr reconsiders his decision not to show.
This story will be updated.