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Barr agrees to testify before House Judiciary Committee in March

Trump praises Barr's handling of Stone case

Washington — Attorney General William Barr will testify before the House Judiciary Committee at the end of March, the Justice Department and the committee said.

In a letter to Barr on Wednesday, all 23 Democratic committee members wrote that they "wish to be candid" about a "set of concerns" they plan to ask about at the March 31 hearing, including his intervention in the sentencing recommendation for Trump associate Roger Stone.

"Since President Trump took office, we have repeatedly warned you and your predecessors that the misuse of our criminal justice system for political purposes is both dangerous to our democracy and unacceptable to the House Judiciary Committee," the letter said. "We have been consistent — and bipartisan — in this message for years."

The members said Barr had "engaged in a pattern of conduct in legal matters relating to the President that raises significant concerns for this Committee" since becoming attorney general. "In the past week alone, you have taken steps which rase grave questions about your leadership of the Department of Justice," the letter said.

The Democrats cited concerns about the withdrawal of the nomination of U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu to a Treasury Department position. Liu was until recently the U.S. attorney in D.C., overseeing the cases against former Trump campaign official Rick Gates, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Stone. The withdrawal of Liu's nomination was first reported by Axios on Tuesday.

The letter also referenced Barr's creation of an "intake process" for Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal attorney, and others to provide the Justice Department information stemming from Ukraine.

Finally, Democrats raised concerns about Barr's "decision to overrule your career prosecutors and significantly reduce the recommended sentence for Roger Stone, who has been convicted for lying under oath, at the apparent request of the president."

Government prosecutors recommended that Stone receive seven to nine years of imprisonment for his conviction on Monday. Mr. Trump tweeted early Tuesday morning that he found these sentencing guidelines to be too severe. The Justice Department later indicated it would ask for a lesser sentence, and the four prosecutors handling the case who made the initial recommendation abruptly withdrew. The Justice Department and the president have said there was no communication between the White House and the department before the decision to amend the recommendation was made.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump sent a tweet thanking Barr for "taking charge of a case." Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office later in the day, Mr. Trump called Stone's had been treated "very badly" and that his case was a "disgrace." 

The Democrats' letter to Barr comes after Mr. Trump was acquitted on two articles of impeachment in the Senate last week.

Clare Hymes contributed reporting.

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