Rep. Nadler preparing to subpoena William Barr for testimony

The Democratic U.S. representative who leads the House Judiciary Committee is set to subpoena U.S. Attorney General William Barr for testimony early next month, NBC News has confirmed.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., is preparing to subpoena testimony on July 2, a committee spokesperson confirmed Monday night.

“We have begun the process to issue that subpoena,” Nadler said on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” Monday night.

News of the planned subpoena was reported earlier Monday by Axios.

Barr has been criticized in recent days for the abrupt removal of the top prosecutor for the influential Southern District of New York, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, over the weekend.

Nadler said on CNN Sunday that Barr deserves to be impeached but that doing so would be a waste of time because the Republican-majority Senate would never convict the attorney general.

Barr had been scheduled to testify before the Judiciary Committee in March, but his testimony was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, the Republican ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, acknowledged that Barr intends to subpoena Barr, but objected to it.

“Attorney General Barr remains willing to testify voluntarily once the pandemic concludes,” wrote the Ohio lawmaker, a staunch ally of President Donald Trump. “Accordingly, there is no legitimate basis for you to compel his testimony at this time.”

Jordan also wrote that circumstances had not changed since March sufficient to warrant a subpoena.

When Barr and House Democrats reached an agreement for testimony this spring, Democrats wrote that they planned to ask Barr about the Justice Department’s decision to overrule career prosecutors and propose a reduction in the sentence for Trump confidant Roger Stone.

Democrats also wrote then that they planned to ask about the Justice Department’s dealings with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, as well as the removal of U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu who oversaw the prosecutions of Stone, Trump’s deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates and Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

After Berman’s removal was announced in a surprise move Friday night — Berman said he was not stepping down as Barr had said, which prompted Berman’s firing the next day — Nadler said he invited Berman to testify before the committee.

Jordan wrote in his letter that if Nadler issues a subpoena, “I respectfully object and request an in-person business meeting.”

Phil Helsel contributed.