SALT LAKE CITY — Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen’s message to Attorney General William Barr was loud and clear when he placed a prop chicken in front of Barr’s empty chair at a House Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday.
Cohen also arrived with a bucket of KFC in tow.
“#ChickenBarr won’t be appearing before @HouseJudiciary tomorrow,” Cohen wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “The Attorney General shouldn’t be afraid of taking questions from counsel or members. Contemptible behavior.
“Fortunately, we have subpoenas ready,” Cohen added.
Barr was supposed to appear before the committee Thursday after spending several hours testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia report.
Barr was questioned after a letter written by Mueller surfaced that criticized the way the attorney general handled the public release of the special counsel’s report, The Washington Post reported.
In his letter to Barr, Mueller wrote, “The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature and substance of this Office's work and conclusions."
Mueller contended that Barr did more harm than good by not releasing more information and created “public confusion about critical aspects” of the investigation results.
It was announced Wednesday that Barr would skip Thursday’s hearings following a disagreement with the House Judiciary Committee over the questioning he faced.
In comments that upset some House Republicans, Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler reportedly said that if Barr didn’t provide the committee "with the information it demands and the respect that it deserves, Mr. Barr's moment of accountability will come soon enough."25 comments on this story
"The reason Bill Barr isn't here today is because the Democrats decided they didn't want him here today," said Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, top Republican on the panel.
According to The Associated Press, “Nadler had reportedly demanded that staff attorneys, in addition to lawmakers, be allowed to question Barr. Barr said he wouldn't attend under that condition.”
Barr’s decision to skip the hearings came a day after the Justice Department missed the deadline to provide the committee with a full and unredacted version of the Mueller report.