Barr cracks joke about contempt vote: 'This must be a record'

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrPelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Five takeaways from Barr's new powers in 'spying' probe Trump declassification move unnerves Democrats MORE on Thursday made a crack about the House Judiciary Committee voting to hold him in contempt a day earlier, joking that it must be a record for someone in his position to face contempt proceedings so early in his tenure.

The attorney general made the comment during his remarks at a farewell ceremony for Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinJake Tapper fact-checks poster Trump admin created describing Mueller investigation Jeffrey Rosen officially sworn in as deputy attorney general Democrats talk subpoena for Mueller MORE at the Justice Department. Turning to his outgoing No. 2 official, Barr said, "You like records. This must be a record of attorney general being proposed for contempt within 100 days of taking office.”

The comment drew laughs from the audience.

ADVERTISEMENT

Barr was joined by other top law enforcement officials in the Trump administration, including former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsFive takeaways from Barr's new powers in 'spying' probe Amash: Some of Trump's actions 'were inherently corrupt' 'Persuadable' voters are key to the 2020 election — and the non-screaming news industry MORE and current FBI Director Christopher Wray, all of whom offered warm words for Rosenstein.

The ceremony served as a lighthearted cap to a tumultuous year for Rosenstein, who as deputy attorney general was responsible for overseeing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions Trump: Democrats just want Mueller to testify for a 'do-over' Graham: Mueller investigation a 'political rectal exam' MORE's investigation into Russian election interference. He came under frequent fire from President TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE and his loyalists over his handling of the probe and was the subject of constant speculation as to whether he would be fired.

Following the delivery of Mueller's report to Congress, Barr and Rosenstein both drew fire after making the mutual decision not to charge President Trump with obstruction of justice. Subsequent reports that Mueller was frustrated with the Justice Department's public handling of his report led to further scrutiny of its top two officials.

Rosenstein, who had been expected to leave the administration for several months, formally notified Trump in an April letter that he was resigning.

Barr's quip comes a day after the House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to hold him in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena to deliver Mueller's full unredacted report and related documents.  

While it's unclear if the contempt vote will proceed to the House floor, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Hillary Clinton slams Trump for spreading 'sexist trash' about Pelosi Hillicon Valley: Facebook won't remove doctored Pelosi video | Trump denies knowledge of fake Pelosi videos | Controversy over new Assange charges | House Democrats seek bipartisan group on net neutrality MORE (D-Calif.) has expressed support for the move. On Thursday, she said she agreed with Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerDemocrats are running out of stunts to pull from impeachment playbook Trump asks if Nadler will look into Clinton's 'deleted and acid washed' emails Trump tweets conservative commentator's criticism of FBI director MORE (D-N.Y.) when he said the U.S. was facing a constitutional crisis.

All eyes remain on Barr as the public awaits testimony from Mueller. Trump on Sunday said he thought the special counsel shouldn't go before Congress, but later said it was up to his attorney general as to whether the testimony takes place.