Democrats mocked Attorney General Bill Barr after he refused to attend a scheduled House Judiciary Committee hearing over their question format.
Barr refused to show up after the Democratic-led committee voted to allow both Democrats and Republicans have their counsel question Barr for 30 minutes apiece about the Mueller report after lawmakers are finished with their 5-minute question rounds.
"He's trying to blackmail the committee," Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler responded Wednesday, according to CNN. "The administration cannot dictate the terms of our hearing in our hearing room."
Democrats kicked off their hearing with Barr’s empty chair in the middle of the room.
Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen brought a bucket of KFC chicken to mock the attorney general.
Cohen then left the bucket and a ceramic chicken on the table where Barr was supposed to sit.
“He’s here,” Cohen said.
"Chicken Barr should have shown up today and answered questions," he later told reporters.
DOJ refuses to comply with subpoena for unredacted Mueller report:
Along with the attorney general refusing to show, the Justice Department also informed Nadler that it will not comply with the committee’s subpoena for the full unredacted Mueller report.
"Our first priority is to get the unredacted Mueller report," Nadler told reporters. He also said that the committee is working to confirm a date for Mueller to testify. The committee is seeking a May 15 hearing but has not been able to nail down a confirmation.
Nadler told reporters after Thursday’s “hearing” that he will “make one more good faith attempt to negotiate” but if there’s no progress “we will proceed to hold the Attorney General in contempt.”
"The attorney general is bound, as are other witnesses to come before the committee, and he cannot dictate to us how we will do our job. We feel that this is the most effective way of doing it, and that is our decision,” he said.
Pelosi says Barr committed a crime:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Barr committed a “crime” by lying to Congress.
"What is deadly serious about it is the attorney general of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the congress of the United States. That's a crime," she said. He lied to Congress. And if anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime. Nobody is above the law. Not the President of the United States and not the attorney general."
Pelosi was referring to Barr’s April testimony to the House Appropriations Committee during which he told Florida Rep. Charlie Crist he did not know whether Mueller had any concerns about his summary. On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that Mueller sent a letter criticizing Barr’s summary and urging him to release the executive summaries within the report, which Barr refused to do.
“It’s called perjury,” Crist told Politico.