Barr dismisses contempt vote as part of 'political circus'

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrThe Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck Supreme Court set to deliver ruling on census citizenship question Trump: 'I think I win the election easier' if Democrats launch impeachment proceedings MORE on Friday brushed aside recent criticism from Democrats, calling Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThis week: Congress set for clash on Trump's border request Judd Gregg: An Irish friend and wisdom Juan Williams: Warren on the rise MORE's (D-Calif.) allegations that he lied under oath "laughable" and dismissing a House panel vote to hold him in contempt of Congress as a "political circus."

Barr, speaking with Fox News during a trip to El Salvador in his first televised interview since becoming attorney general in February, said he's unfazed by mounting criticism from Democrats. Asked specifically about a House Judiciary Committee vote last week to hold him in contempt, Barr said he was unsurprised by the move.


"It’s part of the usual game, you know, political circus that’s being played out. It doesn’t surprise me," he said on "America's Newsroom."

"I don’t feel threatened," Barr added.

The Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to make a formal recommendation that the House hold Barr in contempt for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena for a full, unredacted version of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump Schiff says Intel panel will hold 'series' of hearings on Mueller report MORE's report and underlying documents.

Barr has previously joked about the contempt vote. He made an offhand remark about it during a sendoff for Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinTrump: Appointing Sessions was my biggest mistake Trump blasts Mueller, decries 'witch hunt' at 2020 launch Trump: I didn't fire Mueller since firings 'didn't work out too well' for Nixon MORE last week. And he joked with Pelosi earlier this week at an event at the Capitol, asking her whether she brought handcuffs.

The contempt vote marked the latest escalation in the standoff between Democrats and Barr. Democratic lawmakers have argued the attorney general bungled the release of the Mueller report, has provided cover for the president and has refused to cooperate with Congress's oversight requests.

Some Democrats have called on Barr to resign and asserted that he was not truthful during testimony before House and Senate panels in recent weeks. They pointed to Barr's testimony that he did not know about frustrations from Mueller's team with his March 24 summary of the special counsel's report.

It was later revealed that Mueller wrote to Barr prior to the attorney general's testimony expressing concern that Barr's memo "did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office's work and conclusions."

"He lied to Congress; he lied to Congress," Pelosi said. "And if anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime."

Barr on Friday scoffed at Pelosi's characterization, arguing her remarks may have been part of an effort to undermine him as he looks into the origins of the Russia probe.

"I think it’s a laughable charge," he said. "And I think it’s largely being made to try and discredit me, partly because they may be concerned about the outcome of a review of what happened during the election."

"But obviously you can look at the face of my testimony and see on its face that there was nothing inaccurate about it," he added.