(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Attorney General skips House committee hearing

May 02, 2019 - 10:53 am

Attorney General William Barr skipped a House hearing Thursday on special counsel Robert Mueller's Trump-Russia report, escalating an already acrimonious battle between Democrats and President Donald Trump's Justice Department.

Barr's decision, made after a disagreement with a House committee over questioning, came the day the department also missed a committee deadline to provide it with a full, unredacted version of Mueller's report and its underlying evidence. In all, it's likely to prompt a vote on holding Barr in contempt and possibly the issuance of subpoenas, bringing House Democrats and the Trump administration closer to a prolonged battle in court.

As the hearing opened, lawmakers faced an empty chair with a place card set for Barr. Democratic members of the committee had fun with the spectacle, placing a prop chicken by Barr's microphone — to underscore their contention that he was afraid to appear — and jokingly looking under the desk to make sure he wasn't there.

Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York said that if Barr doesn't provide the committee "with the information it demands and the respect that it deserves, Mr. Barr's moment of accountability will come soon enough."

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