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

An empty chair for Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrDems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Pentagon to place new restrictions, monitoring on foreign military students Parnas: Environment around Trump 'like a cult' 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 NadlerMcConnell locks in schedule for start of impeachment trial Pelosi: Trump's impeachment 'cannot be erased' House to vote Wednesday on sending articles of impeachment to Senate 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 Cohen2019 in Photos: 35 pictures in politics Gabbard under fire for 'present' vote on impeachment Gabbard votes 'present' on impeaching Trump 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 MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE's Russia investigation. He spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. 

— Updated 9:13 a.m.