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House Judiciary Committee leaves empty chair for Barr after he refuses to testify

An empty chair for Attorney General William BarrBill BarrBarr told Trump that theories about stolen election were 'bulls---': report Justice Dept. blasts Mexico's decision to close probe of former defense minister Acting attorney general condemns Capitol riots, warns 'no tolerance' for violence at Biden inauguration MORE sat in a committee room on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

Barr had informed the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that he would not testify at the Thursday hearing.

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A Justice Department spokeswoman said in a statement that the committee's Democratic chairman placed "unprecedented and unnecessary" conditions on the hearing by arranging to have committee lawyers ask him questions. The DOJ argued that only members of Congress should be asking questions.

The chairman, Rep. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerPelosi names 9 impeachment managers Republicans gauge support for Trump impeachment Clyburn blasts DeVos and Chao for 'running away' from 25th Amendment fight MORE (D-N.Y.), in turn accused Barr of "trying to blackmail the committee" to operate the way the administration wanted.

"The Committee will convene at 9:00 tomorrow morning, as planned," Nadler said in a statement. "My colleagues will be present. I hope and expect that Attorney General Barr will be there as well.”

Rep. Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira CohenHouse Judiciary Democrats ask Pence to invoke 25th Amendment to remove Trump Stopping the abuse of the pardon power De Blasio mum on whether he'll block sale of Mets to controversial investor MORE (D-Tenn.) also brought Kentucky Fried Chicken, as well as a fake chicken, into the hearing room in a statement directed at Barr.

Barr was slated to answer questions about the findings and his own summary of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE's Russia investigation. He spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. 

— Updated 9:13 a.m.