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

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrUkrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report Will Democrats be up to the task of publicly interviewing Mueller? A question for Robert Mueller 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 RosensteinKey numbers to know for Mueller's testimony 10 questions for Robert Mueller What to expect when Mueller testifies: Not much 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.

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Barr was joined by other top law enforcement officials in the Trump administration, including former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage House gears up for Mueller testimony Trump's no racist — he's an equal opportunity offender 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 MuellerThis week: Mueller dominates chaotic week on Capitol Hill Top Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction MORE's investigation into Russian election interference. He came under frequent fire from President TrumpDonald John TrumpChelsea Clinton announces birth of third child Ukrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report Trump attacks 'the Squad' as 'racist group of troublemakers' 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, Mnuchin reach 'near-final agreement' on budget, debt ceiling Wendy Davis launches bid for Congress in Texas Steyer calls on Pelosi to cancel 'six-week vacation' for Congress MORE (D-Calif.) has expressed support for the move. On Thursday, she said she agreed with Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerWhy are we permitting federal child abuse at our border? Trump knocks Mueller after deal struck for him to testify House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta 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.