Top Democrat Jerry Nadler's car crash delays testimony of William Barr

Chairman of House judiciary committee reported to be uninjured

Phil Thomas
New York
Tuesday 28 July 2020 15:43 BST
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 17: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 17: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler

A car accident involving Jerry Nadler, Democratic chairman of the House judiciary committee, has delayed the start of testimony by William Barr, Donald Trump's attorney general.

A spokesman for the senior Democrat said he was not injured in the accident. The hearing was put back by 45 minutes to 10.45am. No details of the accident were immediately available.

Mr Barr faces questions on some of the most pressing and controversial issues of Mr Trump's presidency.

He will be asked about the often violent crackdown on racial justice protests, including the clearance of Lafayette Park in Washington DC ahead of the president's photo opportunity at a nearby church, and the escalation of militarised federal agents to crush demonstrations in Portland, Oregon.

Mr Barr also faces questions over allegations that he has used his office to protect friends of the president who have been convicted or or admitted to criminal offences linked to the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The attorney general dropped a case against Michael Flynn, Mr Trump's first national security adviser, who admitted lying to the FBI over his contacts with then then-Russian ambassador to the US.

He also argued for a shorter sentence than that recommended by prosecutors for Roger Stone, a longtime friend and adviser to the president, who had been convicted of obstruction, obstruction of justice and witness tampering. Stone was sentenced to 40 months in prison but the president commuted the sentence.

Mr Barr also faces questions over the as-yet unexplained firing of Geoffrey Berman as the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan following a stand-off during which the attorney general falsely claimed that the prosecutor had resigned. Mr Berman was said to be investigating Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trump's personal lawyer, and was leading the case against Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime acquaintance of the president whom he "wished well" when asked about the charges against her, which include involving minors in illegal sex acts.

Democrats will challenge him on his handling of the Mueller Report into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin during the 2016 election. Mr Barr has been accused of issuing a misleading summary of the report before it came out to try to set the narrative in a way that was more positive towards the president.

Questions over Mr Trump's repeated claims that mail-in voting will lead to widespread electoral fraud, and the spread of coronavirus in prisons, are also likely.

As one of the leaders of the impeachment probe against the president over his efforts to involve Ukraine in the 2020 election, Mr Nadler has become a regular target for Republicans.

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