Intensifying the partisan differences over the Russia Investigation and the report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, U.S. Attorney General William Barr refused to appear for a hearing on Thursday with the House Judiciary Committee, prompting finger pointing by both parties, and promises by Democrats that they would subpoena Barr for his testimony and the full unredacted Mueller Report.
“He is trying to render Congress inert, as a separate and co-equal branch of government,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
Nadler vowed to keep pursuing Barr’s testimony, as well as the Mueller Report - as Republicans accused him of playing political games.
GOP lawmakers laid the blame squarely on Nadler and Democrats for the no-show of Barr, arguing the decision on Wednesday to allow committee staff lawyers from each party to ask the Attorney General up to thirty minutes of questions was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“If you want to ask questions, run for Congress,” Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) said for a second straight day.
.@RepDougCollins opening statement: "Unfortunately, ludicrous demands from the chairman made it impossible for the attorney general to join us here today." pic.twitter.com/QkqogUZSx1— CSPAN (@cspan) May 2, 2019
.@RepJerryNadler: "Ordinarily at this point I would introduce the witness. But, instead, we will conclude these proceedings." pic.twitter.com/u6FuGNSjkW— CSPAN (@cspan) May 2, 2019
Democrats mocked the GOP complaints, saying the Attorney General was “chicken,” wondering why the nation’s top law enforcement officer would be reluctant to answer questions from a staff lawyer, as well as lawmakers.
“Chicken Barr should have shown up today and answered questions,” said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), who brought a bucket of fried chicken to the hearing, along with a plastic chicken to poke at Barr’s refusal to answer questions from staff lawyers.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., left, laughs with Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., after Cohen arrived with a bucked of fried chicken and a plastic chicken as Attorney General William Barr will not appear before a House Judiciary Committee hearing. @ap pic.twitter.com/fLdpuWB13X— Andrew Harnik (@andyharnik) May 2, 2019
“It has been done many other times,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), who questioned why the Attorney General would refuse to answer questions. “What are you afraid of?”
“They are behaving like a cover up caucus for this President,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said of his GOP colleagues.
“We’re moving on to other witnesses, because our task is to find the truth,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX).
“The Trump Administration is in a full blown cover up mode,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD).
Two hours later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted Barr, bluntly accusing him of lying to the Congress about the findings of the Mueller Report.
.@SpeakerPelosi: "What is deadly serious about it is the Attorney General of the Unites States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States. That's a crime." pic.twitter.com/pOeTf1GdWY— CSPAN (@cspan) May 2, 2019
The Justice Department wasted little time in responding, calling the Speaker's accusation a 'baseless attack,' which was 'reckless, irresponsible, and false.'
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