Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., blasted Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday for declining to testify before a planned House Judiciary Committee meeting Thursday.
“If the attorney general had nothing to hide, he would come testify to Congress tomorrow,” Swalwell said on “The Story with Martha MacCallum.”
“He played a home game today and his credibility was destroyed. Now it’s time to come to the other legislative branch over on the House side.”
The House Judiciary Committee was informed Wednesday that Barr will not testify at a planned hearing Thursday, even as Democrats who lead the committee vowed to hold the hearing anyway, and threatened a possible contempt citation.
Barr was questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier Wednesday.
A key sticking point was that Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, wants to have committee staff — rather than members of Congress — question Barr on his handling of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. But DOJ officials said members should conduct the inquiry, and it was unclear why Democrats did not propose having staffers simply provide questions to members during the hearing.
MacCallum asked Swalwell why Democrats appear to be aggressively “jumping” on Barr, to which Swalwell responded by pointing out that Barr did not fully review all evidence.
“The Mueller team identified 10 instances where the president obstructed justice. In part they said they could not indict because he was a sitting president. And then Barr testified today he didn’t review the underlying evidence. That’s maddening — the person making the final signoff makes a decision without reviewing the evidence,” he said.
Swalwell responding to possible impeachment proceedings, also argued that while Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Nadler would have an opportunity to see the full report, the rest of the House Democrats would have to depend on the two Democratic leaders in order to make a decision to move forward on impeachment.
“Only Mr. Nadler and Mr. Schiff have been invited, to their point how fair is it that they go in and read the whole report can’t take notes or tell the world anything they see something concerning ‘we need to impeach the president because of what we saw — just trust me,'” Swalwell said.
“I would still want to see the evidence myself. That’s their point.”
Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.