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

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrJudge orders DOJ to publish info redacted as privileged from Mueller report Mueller in rare statement pushes back on top aide's criticism of investigation Flynn's attorney says she recently discussed case with Trump 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 RosensteinMueller in rare statement pushes back on top aide's criticism of investigation This week: Senate kicks off Supreme Court fight DOJ kept investigators from completing probe of Trump ties to Russia: report 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 SessionsRoy Moore sues Alabama over COVID-19 restrictions GOP set to release controversial Biden report Trump's policies on refugees are as simple as ABCs 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) 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 investigation into Russian election interference. He came under frequent fire from President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump signs bill averting shutdown after brief funding lapse Privacy, civil rights groups demand transparency from Amazon on election data breaches Facebook takes down Trump campaign ads tying refugees to coronavirus 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 PelosiTrump signs bill averting shutdown after brief funding lapse On The Money: 'One more serious try' on COVID relief yields progress but no deal | Trump tax bombshell shines light on IRS enforcement | Senate passes bill to avert shutdown hours before deadline 'One more serious try' on COVID-19 relief yields progress but no deal MORE (D-Calif.) has expressed support for the move. On Thursday, she said she agreed with Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerDemocrats shoot down talk of expanding Supreme Court Schumer: 'Nothing is off the table' if GOP moves forward with Ginsburg replacement Top Democrats call for DOJ watchdog to probe Barr over possible 2020 election influence 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.