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Philly DA Larry Krasner asked to address his impeachment committee in public. The panel said no.

Krasner said he had accepted an invitation to appear before the committee searching for grounds to impeach him. But the committee wants to speak to him in private.

District Attorney Larry Krasner has repeatedly said he wants to speak publicly to the House committee seeking to impeach him.
District Attorney Larry Krasner has repeatedly said he wants to speak publicly to the House committee seeking to impeach him.Read moreTyger Williams / Staff Photographer

As the Pennsylvania House committee searching for grounds to impeach Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner continues its investigation into the city’s top prosecutor, he and the committee publicly sparred Tuesday over when and how he might appear before the committee as part of that process.

Krasner, in a statement issued by his office Tuesday afternoon, said he had “accepted an invitation” to appear before the committee Friday “in a public and transparent hearing.”

» READ MORE: Committee to investigate DA Larry Krasner’s office has been selected, and work will now begin

“I am stating today as I have stated in the past that I am happy to answer questions from the committee in a public hearing,” he said.

But there was a catch.

The committee’s invitation was not for Krasner to speak publicly — but instead for him to address the panel in private, terms Krasner deemed unacceptable. The DA took particular issue with those conditions because the committee last month held public hearings featuring live testimony targeting his tenure.

Krasner, a Democrat, called it “curious” that lawmakers on the Republican-controlled committee had asked to meet “in secret behind closed doors and out of view of the public, just days before the House returns to session next week, possibly to vote for my impeachment at the whim of the House Republican Speaker.”

A few hours later, Jason Gottesman, spokesperson for House Republicans, said in a statement that Krasner’s insistence to speak publicly amounted to a rejection of the committee’s invitation to address its members.

“The District Attorney does not decide the manner in which the Select Committee operates,” Gottesman said.

He then said the committee would not hold any meeting Friday. He did not respond to questions about why the committee had balked at the notion of a public hearing.

The back-and-forth was the latest display of the tensions surrounding the ongoing impeachment probe being led by Republican legislators in Harrisburg. Many GOP members have criticized Krasner for his reform-oriented policies and said they’ve contributed to the city’s shooting crisis. Krasner has denied that and defended his office.

With a meeting between Krasner and the committee now in doubt, it was not clear what the committee’s next steps might be. The House is set to reconvene next week.

Any move toward impeachment is likely to be a protracted and contentious process. Krasner has frequently cast the committee and its work as illegal and politically motivated. And any impeachment proposal would have to be approved by a majority vote in the state House, with the state Senate then holding a trial, after which a conviction would require a two-thirds vote.