Attorney General William Barr sparred with congressional Democrats on Sunday over the conditions for his highly anticipated testimony on special counsel Robert Mueller's report before the House Judiciary Committee later this week. 

 

Barr, who Democrats have accused of protecting the president by holding a press conference before releasing a redacted version of Mueller's report and clearing Mr. Trump on obstruction of justice, wants to be questioned only by lawmakers on the committee — not staff. 

"The attorney general agreed to appear before Congress. Therefore, members of Congress should be the ones doing the questioning," Kerri Kupec, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said in a statement Sunday. "He remains happy to engage with members on their questions regarding the Mueller report." 

But Democrats believe Barr, as the committee's witness, should not dictate the parameters of the hearing, scheduled for Thursday morning. A spokesperson for the Democratic-controlled panel also said the Justice Department can't prohibit members of Congress from asking about redacted sections of the Mueller report.

A Justice Department official told CBS News negotiations between Barr's office and the House Judiciary Committee are ongoing and will resume Monday.

While his investigative team did not find the Trump campaign coordinated the Russian government, Mueller described in his report multiple concerted efforts by the president to hinder a probe he believed would eventually lead to the end his presidency.

Breaking party leadership, some Democrats have cited the actions Mueller analyzed in his probe into whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice — which he did not reach a conclusion on — to call for the president's impeachment.