Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said that he would have advised Attorney General William Barr to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, adding that he thinks Barr has “nothing to hide.”
Napolitano made the comments on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday, hours before Barr skipped the House hearing -- even as the Democrats who lead the committee vowed to hold the hearing anyway, and threatened a possible contempt citation against Barr.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y, gaveled a hearing Thursday with an empty chair the day after Barr endured questioning from the Senate Judiciary Committee, his first appearance before Congress since the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report.
A key sticking point was that Nadler wanted to have House Judiciary Committee staff -- rather than members of Congress -- question Barr on his handling of Mueller's report. Barr reportedly wanted only lawmakers to do the questioning and Department of Justice officials said members should conduct the inquiry.
“My view is the lawyers would ask better questions than the politicians,” Napolitano said on Thursday.
“There’s a follow up in the give and take which we didn't hear yesterday, which good lawyers, trained in cross-examination, know how to do. The best lawyer in that room (is) the attorney general. He really shouldn't have anything to fear.”
Napolitano then advised Barr to “go” to the House hearing, but acknowledged, “I guess it's too late to do it now.”
“Let anybody ask you the questions you want,” Napolitano said as he explained the advice he would offer Barr. “In your view, you have nothing to hide. They will ask far better questions than the politicians did.”
Democratic Caucus chairman Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said Wednesday that Democrats "plan on subpoenaing" Barr "if he decides not to show up."
Several top Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, have called for Barr's resignation in the wake of his Senate testimony on Wednesday. The hearing covered everything from Barr's decision not to pursue an obstruction case against President Trump to process delays in getting a redacted version of Mueller's report to the public to Mueller's apparent concerns about how Barr initially relayed his findings to Congress.
On Capitol Hill on Wednesday Sen. Harris, D-Calif., said: “No prosecutor worth her salt would make a decision about whether the president of the United States was involved in an obstruction of justice without reviewing the evidence.”
Harris added that she thinks that Barr should resign.
“She should know better,” said Napolitano in response. “She is the former attorney general of the state of California. An enormous job. She was the second most important attorney general position in terms of numbers of prosecutions managed in the country. She couldn't possibly look at all the evidence and all the prosecutions.”
“You have 44 FBI agents and 19 lawyers supervised by Bob Mueller. You trust that when they come to a conclusion, they have eyeballed all the evidence.”
He added: “It would be absurd for Bill Barr to have examined everything.”
Napolitano went on to say that some of the questions during Wednesday’s Senate hearing were “out of line.”
“He wouldn't get questions like that lawyer to lawyer. Which is why I argue the attorney general should go and let those lawyers ask him questions and we'll learn more than we learned yesterday,” Napolitano added.
“If you think this was a witch-hunt, I don't think your mind was changed yesterday. If you think the president committed obstruction of justice (and) Bill Barr wouldn’t let Bob Mueller indict him, I don't think your mind was changed yesterday.”
Napolitano said, “the real show” will come when Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill, if it ever comes to pass.