House Democrat mocks Barr by bringing chicken to hearing

House Democrat mocks Barr by bringing chicken to hearing
© Greg Nash

Rep. Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira CohenPelosi throws cold water on impeaching Barr Justice Department officials say decisions are politicized Congress must act on police reform, don't let opponents divert the conversation MORE (D-Tenn.) on Thursday brought Kentucky Fried Chicken and a fake chicken into a House hearing room as a statement directed at Attorney General William BarrBill BarrBarr says Black Lives Matter 'distorting the debate' Barr: Don't defund police, invest in them Nadler: Barr dealings with Berman came 'awfully close to bribery' MORE.

"The message is that Bill Barr is a chicken," Cohen told MSNBC, holding the fake chicken prop.

"He was chicken to come to the House Judiciary Committee, face the members of the committee, and also face 30 minutes from counsel that would have been difficult for him to respond to because he stands on shaky ground."

Barr refused to testify before the House Judiciary Committee after the panel said it would allow staff attorneys to question him during the hearing. Barr was slated to answer questions about the findings and his own summary of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE's Russia investigation.

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His appearance would have followed reports that Mueller objected to Barr's initial handling of his report.

A Department of Justice (DOJ) spokeswoman said in a statement that the committee's Democratic chairman was making "unprecedented and unnecessary" demands by asking Barr to answer questions from committee counsel. The DOJ argued that only members of Congress should be asking questions.

The committee left an empty chair for Barr at the hearing on Thursday. Cohen sat the fake chicken near the chair, telling reporters it represented "Chicken Barr."

The White House has argued that House Democrats are not showing the attorney general the respect he deserves for his position, while Democrats argue that Barr is acting like a defense attorney for the president rather than the attorney general of the United States.

"I think the attorney general deserves no respect," Cohen told MSNBC. "He has lowered the bar for lawyers and the attorney general."