A Democrat sent William Barr a message on Thursday after the attorney general refused to show up for a congressional hearing — a greasy, crispy message.
Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen brought in a bucket of KFC to the meeting where Barr was scheduled to answer questions from lawmakers. He chomped on a piece of original-style fried chicken as Democrats slammed Barr as a “chicken” for refusing to show up. Barr and the White House have been setting up a showdown with Congress by refusing to answer to subpoenas and by refusing to testify before Democratic-led House committees, and Democrats pushed back on Thursday.
As The Daily Mail noted, Cohen’s chicken stunt was ready-made for cameras.
“Tennessee Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen brought a bucket of KFC to drive the point home, eating a piece at 9:00 in the morning while reporters gawked and camera shutters clicked,” the report noted. “The food ended its brief cameo on the witness table, along with a ceramic chicken, next to what would have been Barr’s name placard.”
Chicken stunts are not the only actions Democrats have planned in response to Barr’s refusal. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee that was left waiting for Barr on Thursday, issued a sharp statement calling on him to comply. Nadler threatened to take more drastic action if Barr continued to refuse.
While Nadler did not explicitly state what options were on the table, Democrats would have the ability to hold Barr in contempt of Congress. That would allow the Sergeant-at-Arms for the House to arrest Barr, bringing him to the floor of the House to answer to the presiding officer. Barr could possibly face imprisonment.
“We will have no choice but to move quickly to hold the attorney general in contempt if he stalls or fails to negotiate in good faith,” Nadler wrote. “If he does not provide this committee with the information it demands and the respect it deserves, Mr. Barr’s moment of accountability will come soon enough.”
A statue of a chicken sits above the nameplate and near the empty seat of U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who failed to appear at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Trump Russia. #ChickenBarr pic.twitter.com/C2ooUymkkT— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) May 2, 2019
William Barr is under fire for his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. During the proceedings, Barr admitted to deciding not to charge Donald Trump with obstruction of justice without having read the underlying evidence in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Just before Barr’s appearance, The Washington Post reported that Mueller had sent Barr a letter saying that his summary was not an accurate depiction of the report’s conclusions.