Nadler blasts no-show Barr before empty seat at House Judiciary hearing

In a remarkable scene inside the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., blasted Attorney General William Barr for failing to appear before the committee on Thursday.

For those viewing on cable television, Barr’s empty seat and placard were seen on a split-screen as Nadler spoke.

“The attorney general of the United States is sworn to uphold the Constitution as our nation’s chief law enforcement officer,” Nadler said. “Sadly the attorney general has failed in that responsibility. He has failed to check the president’s worst instincts. He has not only misrepresented the findings of the special counsel, he has failed to protect the special counsel’s investigation from unfair political attacks. He has himself unfairly attacked the special counsel’s investigation.

“He has failed the men and women of the Department of Justice by placing the needs of the president over the fair administration of justice,” Nadler continued. “He has even failed to show up today.”

11 PHOTOS
William Barr through the years
See Gallery
William Barr through the years
FILE - In this Nov. 12, 1991 file photo, then Attorney General nominee William Barr is shown on Capitol Hill in Washington. Barr once advised the U.S. government that it could attack Iraq without Congressional approval, arrest a deposed foreign dictator and capture suspects abroad without that country’s permission. Those decisions reflect a broad view of presidential power that Barr, President Donald Trump's pick to reclaim his old attorney general job, demonstrated at the Justice Department and in the years since. (AP Photo/John Duricka)
U.S. President George H. Bush signs into law new civil rights guarantees for women and minorities at a Rose Garden ceremony, Thursday, Nov. 21, 1991 in Washington, as Vice President Dan Quayle, left, and Acting Attorney General William Barr look on. The bill signing capped a two-year struggle with congress over whether the legislation encouraged job quotas. (AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander)
U.S. President George H. Bush, right, and William Barr wave after Barr was sworn in as the new Attorney General of the United States, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 1991 at a Justice Department ceremony in Washington. (AP Photo/Scott Applewhite)
U.S. President George H. Bush gestures while talking to Attorney General William Barr in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, May 4, 1992 in Washington. The President met with top domestic Cabinet officers to tackle long-range problems pushed to the forefront by last week's deadly riots in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander)
Board member of MCI Telecommunications, Nicholas Katzenbach, second left, speaks at hearing before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on "The WorldCom Case: Looking at Bankruptcy and Competition Issues" on Capitol Hill in Washington Tuesday, July 22, 2003. Witnesses are, from left, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Verizon Communications William Barr, Katzenbach, Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP's Marcia Goldstein, Communications Workers of America President Morton Bahr, National Bankruptcy Conference Vice-Chair Douglas Baird, Cerberus Capital Management Chief Operation Officer Mark Neporent. (AP Photo/Akira Ono)
Former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr, left, listens as William Redpath, Libertarian Party national chairman, answers a question at a news conference in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007. (AP Photo)
President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, meets with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Barr, who served in the position in the early 1990s, has a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week and could be in place at the Justice Department as soon as February when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves after Barr is confirmed. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, left, meets with Senate Judiciary Committee member and Trump confidant Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Barr, who served in the position in the early 1990s, has a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week and could be in place at the Justice Department as soon as February when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves after Barr is confirmed. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, arrives to meet with Senate Judiciary Committee member and Trump confidant Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Barr, who served in the position in the early 1990s, has a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week and could be in place at the Justice Department as soon as February when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves after Barr is confirmed. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, right, meets with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Barr, who served in the position in the early 1990s, has a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week and could be in place at the Justice Department as soon as February when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves after Barr is confirmed. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Attorney General nominee William Barr , left, turns to answer a reporter's question as he arrives to meet with Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

On Wednesday, Barr defended his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report in a contentious appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee. That night, the Justice Department informed the House Judiciary Committee that Barr would not testify before the panel on Thursday amid disagreements over the hearing’s format.

Nadler, who is seeking an unredacted version of the Mueller report, said he would hold the attorney general in contempt if he doesn’t produce it within the next couple days.

“The attorney general must make a choice,” Nadler said. “Every one of us must make the same choice. That choice is now an obligation of our office. The choice is simple: We can stand up to this president in defense of the country and the Constitution and the liberty we love, or we can let the moment pass us by.”

He added: “I do not know what Attorney General Barr will choose. I do not know what my Republican colleagues will choose. But I am certain that there is no way forward for this country that does not include a reckoning with this clear and present danger to our constitutional order. History will judge us for how we face this challenge. We will all be held accountable in one way or the other.”

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking Republican on the committee, accused Nadler of creating a political “circus.”

“They want it to look like an impeachment hearing,” Collins said. “The reason Bill Barr isn’t here today is because the Democrats decided they didn’t want him here today.”

Nadler quickly concluded the hearing, defying objections from Collins and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., whose mic appeared to be cut off.

Adding to the surreal nature of the hearing, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., arrived with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, apparently to mock Barr as being a “chicken” in failing to appear.

___

Read more from Yahoo News:

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.