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

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump administration awarding M in housing grants to human trafficking survivors Trump stokes conspiracy about Epstein death, stands by wishes for Ghislaine Maxwell Democrats' silence on our summer of violence is a tactical blunder 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 RosensteinFBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Sally Yates to testify as part of GOP probe into Russia investigation Graham releases newly declassified documents on Russia probe 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 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Tuberville breaks DC self-quarantine policy to campaign 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 TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary 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 PelosiNegotiators hit gas on coronavirus talks as frustration mounts Hillicon Valley: NSA warns of new security threats | Teen accused of Twitter hack pleads not guilty | Experts warn of mail-in voting misinformation Schiff, Khanna call for free masks for all Americans in coronavirus aid package MORE (D-Calif.) has expressed support for the move. On Thursday, she said she agreed with Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerBy questioning Barr, Democrats unmasked their policy of betrayal Chris Wallace: Barr hearing 'an embarrassment' for Democrats: 'Just wanted to excoriate him' Apple posts blowout third quarter 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.