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

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrSenate Judiciary Democrats demand DOJ turn over Trump obstruction memo Garland strikes down Trump-era asylum decisions What's happened to Merrick Garland? 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 RosensteinHouse Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week Media leaders to meet with Garland to discuss leak investigations 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 SessionsBorder state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos Garland strikes down Trump-era asylum decisions The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from the Biden-Putin summit 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) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's investigation into Russian election interference. He came under frequent fire from President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Carolina Senate passes trio of election measures 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos 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 Pelosi Pelosi says she's giving Senate more time on Jan. 6 commission Ocasio-Cortez, Gillibrand and Moulton call for more high-speed rail funding in infrastructure package Pelosi picks Democrats for special panel tackling inequality MORE (D-Calif.) has expressed support for the move. On Thursday, she said she agreed with Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerSenate on collision course over Trump DOJ subpoenas Black Democrats press leaders for reparations vote this month House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists 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.