Democrats on House panel blast Barr for no-show

Democrats on House panel blast Barr for no-show

Attorney General William Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee shortly after reports reveal that Special Counsel Robert Mueller objected to the conclusions of Barr’s summary of Mueller’s report into Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election. May 1, 2019, (Photo ©2019 Doug Christian/TMN)
Attorney General William Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday but he skipped Thursday's hearing before the House Judiciary Committee because he objected to the committee's decision to allow its attorneys to question him as well as the members. (Photo ©2019 Doug Christian/TMN)

WASHINGTON – Attorney General William Barr followed through with his decision not to attend a Thursday morning hearing before the House Judiciary Committee but the committee met anyway.

And Democrats on the panel blasted Barr for the no-show.

Prior to the gavel coming down, Rep. Steven Cohen of Tennessee ate from a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken he brought to the hearing.

“He’s here,” Cohen said in reference to Barr as he pointed to the chicken.

Following the hearing, Cohen told reporters: “Chicken Barr should have showed up today. It’s a sad day in America.”

Rep. Ted Lieu, California, blasted Barr after the gavel came down. Barr is “one of the most dangerous men in Washington, D.C.,” Lieu said.

Lieu said Democrats plan to hold the attorney general accountable for skipping the hearing.

Ranking Member Doug Collins, a Republican from Georgia, blamed Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat from New York, for Barr’s absence.

“The reason Bill Barr is not here today is because the Democrats decided they didn’t want him here today,” Collins said in his opening statement.

On Wednesday morning, the committee voted along party lines to allow its attorneys to question Barr.

Barr had warned Nadler he would not attend the hearing if the committee decided to authorize questioning by non-members.

Barr was grilled for eight hours Wednesday during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearing was part of a congressional inquiry into Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The Department of Justice released a redacted version of the report on April 18. A day later, Nadler issued a subpoena for the full report.

The report said Mueller did not find any evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Mueller did not make a determination as to whether obstruction of justice had occurred.

DoJ informed Nadler on Wednesday evening that Barr was unlikely to attend the hearing. The department also said it would not comply with the committee’s subpoena for the un-redacted version of the report.

Nadler later spoke to reporters. He said the committee may hold Barr in contempt if DoJ does not comply with the subpoena. But Nadler said the committee will wait a few days before deciding how to address Barr’s then-expected no-show.

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