White House press secretary Sarah HuckabeeSarah SandersHow Biden should sell his infrastructure bill Trump expected to resume rallies in June Andrew Giuliani planning run for New York governor MORE Sanders on Thursday chastised Democrats over their efforts to question Attorney General William BarrBill BarrWilliam Barr's memoir set for release in early March The enemy within: Now every day is Jan. 6 Dems worry they'll be boxed out without changes to filibuster, voting rules MORE, who skipped a House hearing after Democrats pushed to allow staff attorneys to ask questions.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Sanders suggested House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerAndrew Cuomo attorney says AG investigation was 'shoddy,' outcome was 'predetermined' Democrats quietly explore barring Trump from office over Jan. 6 The Memo: Nation's racial reckoning plays out in 2021's big trials MORE (D-N.Y.) should consider resigning his post for demanding staff attorneys be allowed to question Barr.
"It’s surprising to find out he has actually lost confidence in himself and his capability to do his job,” Sanders said of Nadler. “If he can’t, and he’s not capable of asking the attorney general questions, maybe he should step down and resign and allow someone else to.”
Barr was scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee at 9 a.m. on Thursday, but he did not appear. Instead, Nadler conducted proceedings with a placard bearing Barr's name resting in front of an empty chair.
Asked on Fox News why Barr wouldn't just appear before the committee and "get it over with," Sanders again blamed Democrats for changing "the rules middle of the game."
"The attorney general sat for five hours yesterday, Bill, and he answered every question put in front of him," she told Bill Hemmer on "America's Newsroom." "He was willing to sit down and do that again with the House. But naturally the Democrats have changed rules middle of the game."
Barr's appearance was up in the air in recent days as Democrats had insisted that committee counsels be able to question the attorney general. After Barr indicated he may not show up if that was the format, Democrats argued witnesses should not dictate proceedings.
On Wednesday, the Judiciary panel voted along party lines to approve a measure allowing committee staffers to question Barr for an additional hour, despite fierce objections from Republicans.
The Department of Justice said Wednesday evening that Barr would not sit for questioning, saying Nadler had placed "unprecedented and unnecessary" conditions on the hearing.
Sanders called it "pretty pathetic" that Democrats sought to allow staffers to pose questions.
"If he and his committee aren’t capable of … asking questions themselves and need to staff it out, then it seems like a pretty pathetic moment for the chairman of that committee,” she said.
Barr's no-show further escalates tensions between House Democrats and the Trump administration, which has sought to slow-walk oversight investigations and subpoenas in recent weeks.
The attorney general endured a grilling Wednesday from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee who accused him of bungling the handling of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG MORE's report and spinning a favorable narrative for the president.
Several Democrats have called on Barr to resign after it was revealed that Mueller criticized the attorney general’s four-page memo summarizing the report’s findings.