Refusing to allow the fact that AG Barr chose not to attend today's Mueller Report hearing, angry Democrats took full advantage of the photo-op to conjure images of a terrified attorney general cowering from the truth and protecting a clearly guilty-of-something president.
Despite Barr's decision last night not to attend, because he objected to Democratic demands that their staff counsel be able to question him, Democrats went forward with the theater of the hearing anyway, setting up an empty chair for the absent attorney general.
As The Hill reports, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) brought a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken to the morning event, and accused Barr of being a coward after it ended.
Rep. Steve Cohen brought a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken to today's hearing, apparently to suggest that Barr is afraid to testify.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 2, 2019
Via CSPAN pic.twitter.com/g3XOIedYqR
“He has failed the men and women of the Department by placing the needs of the President over the fair administration of justice,” Nadler said. “He has even failed to show up today.”
Republicans did not take it lying down with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) noted vociferously that "Judiciary Democrats say AG Barr is "terrified." Yesterday he testified for over five hours in an open hearing. Today, they cut off my microphone."
And, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) accused Nadler of staging a “circus political stunt” and said the Democratic chairman wanted the hearing to look like an impeachment hearing.
“That is the reason. The reason Bill Barr is not here today is because the Democrats decided they didn’t want him here today. That’s the reason he’s not here,” Collins said. “Not hearing from him is a travesty to this committee today.”
Nadler concluded the hearing after a half an hour by demanding the Justice Department provide the committee access to Mueller’s unredacted report and underlying evidence. Nadler has threatened a contempt citation against Barr if he doesn’t meet Democrats’ demands.
“We need the information without delay,” Nadler said in closing. “The hearing is adjourned.”