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Tapper Questions House Judiciary Dem on Showdown With Barr: Why Was Hearing Format the ‘Hill to Die On?’

CNN’s Jake Tapper spoke with Congressman David Cicilline this afternoon and asked about the House Judiciary Committee’s standoff with Attorney General Bill Barr.

Barr did not go to a hearing by the committee last week over Democrats wanting committee lawyers to question the AG. The committee is planning to vote to hold Barr in contempt this week after he did not provide an un-redacted Mueller report to Congress.

Tapper questioned Cicilline this afternoon on the committee’s request for Barr’s testimony:

“I do not remember any time during the Obama administration when any Cabinet secretary or head of a department was ever quizzed or asked questions by committee lawyers. I only remember members of the House or the Senate asking questions. Can you explain why that was an important hill to die on, so important that it actually meant that Barr did not go before your committee?”

Cicilline said the House rules allow it––pointing to past examples––and that “witnesses don’t get to dictate to Congress how we’re going to do that work.”

He argued for why they wanted to bring committee lawyers in there before asking, “What is the attorney general afraid of?… Why is he afraid to come in and answer questions? I’m sure it’s because he mischaracterized the findings in the report.”

Cicilline also brought up Barr’s pre-Mueller report press conference and Mueller’s letter of concern to Barr.

Before wrapping things up, Tapper remarked, “It just seems like those are points that you would be fully capable of doing without a committee lawyer.”

You can watch above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac