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

An empty chair for Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrMulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe Mulvaney ties withheld Ukraine aid to political probe sought by Trump Matthew Shepard's parents blast Barr's LGBTQ record in anniversary of hate crime law 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 NadlerDem committee chairs blast Trump G-7 announcement Top Democrat holds moment of silence for Cummings at hearing Barr to speak at Notre Dame law school on Friday 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 CohenTop Democrat holds moment of silence for Cummings at hearing The Hill's Morning Report - Trump eyes narrowly focused response to Iran attacks Lewandowski, Democrats tangle at testy hearing 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) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE's Russia investigation. He spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. 

— Updated 9:13 a.m.