Attorney General William Barr has been engaged in a "clear and dangerous pattern" of conduct, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said at the start of a Wednesday hearing on alleged politicization of the Justice Department under Barr. The Democrat accused Barr of being "the president's fixer," reports the Washington Post. Lawmakers heard testimony from witnesses including federal prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky, who quit the Roger Stone case after Barr intervened to recommend a lighter sentence for the Trump ally. Zelinsky, who says he was pressured to cut Stone a "break," said supervisors including JP Cooney, the Justice Department’s head of fraud and public corruption, openly discussed how Stone was receiving lenient treatment because he was close to Trump.
Another whistleblower, career Department of Justice employee John Elias, testified that Barr ordered investigations of marijuana company mergers because of his distaste for the industry, and that an investigation of a pact between California and automakers appeared to be driven by Trump's tweets. Other witnesses included Donald Ayer, a former deputy attorney general who said Barr's politicization of the DoJ was "worse than Watergate," the Guardian reports. Rep. Jim Jordan, the ranking Republican on the committee, defended Barr's conduct. "The Barr Justice Department is about correcting injustice," he said, citing an appeal court's decision earlier Wednesday to uphold the dismissal of the case against Michael Flynn. The Hill reports that Barr has agreed to testify before the committee next month. (Read more Justice Department stories.)