Attorney General William Barr is no longer expected to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, chairman Jerry Nadler announced.
The decision comes after Democrats on the committee demanded that Barr face questions from the committee’s lawyers.
Nadler said in comments to reporters Wednesday on Capitol Hill that they are looking at May 15 as a possible date for special counsel Robert Mueller to testify.
Barr had previously objected to the proposal for lawyers to ask questions in the hearing, but after the committee formalised its move on Wednesday to allot time for staff questioning, the Department of Justice communicated to the committee that Barr will not appear, according to a committee aide.
Separately, Barr testified for hours before the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
The top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee blamed Nadler for Barr’s decision to skip the hearing.
“It’s a shame Members of the House Judiciary Committee won’t get the opportunity to hear from Attorney General Barr this Thursday, because Chairman Nadler chose to torpedo our hearing,” Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia said in a statement Wednesday.
The committee voted earlier Wednesday to allow staff to question Barr during his hearing on the special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The vote was 21 to 14.
“I don’t know what he’s afraid of,” Nadler said earlier.