A member of the House Judiciary Committee just sent #ChickenBarr trending on Twitter when Trump’s Attorney General William Barr refused to appear for fear of being questioned by the panel’s lawyers.
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) brought a bucket of KFC to this morning’s hearing where Barr was supposed to testify to the committee after calling him #ChickenBarr for announcing his refusal to testify yesterday. When Barr’s no-show was official, Cohen handed out the fried chicken to his Democratic colleagues.
“If he felt confident in the legality of his actions, he would not be afraid,” tweeted Rep. Cohen after the hearing, who shared this CNN video (embedded below) of his remarks to press after the hearing:
“Chicken Barr should’ve shown up today and answered questions. He was afraid of Barry Berke, he was afraid of Norm Eisen.
An attorney general who was picked for his legal acumen and his abilities would not be fearful of any other attorneys questioning him for 30 minutes.
This man was picked to be Roy Cohn and to be Donald Trump’s fixer. The “Black Sox” looked clean compared to this team.
It’s a sad day in America.”
Cohen has every reason to suppose that Barr fears the House Judiciary counsels since both of them are hugely respected lawyers in their fields.
Berke is a top-notch criminal defense lawyer and litigator who took a leave of absence from his global, New York-based firm.
Eisen is a prominent Trump critic, was President Obama’s ethics counsel, an ambassador, and the head of the watchdog nonprofit C.R.E.W. where he has been litigating emoluments cases against the president for years.
At 9 a.m. this morning, the House Judiciary’s hearing commenced, but Barr was nowhere to be found, leaving the top two members to make short statements. That’s when Rep. Cohen broke out his bucket of fried chicken, telling the press that Barr was there, so to speak…
.@RepCohen brought a plastic chicken and a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken (which he is tucking into ahead of this 9AM House Judiciary hearing.)
“He’s here,” Cohen said, pointing to the chicken and referring to AG Barr who is not attending after a grilling in the Senate. pic.twitter.com/bGz3HCRSCQ
— Lauren Gambino (@laurenegambino) May 2, 2019
House Judiciary Chairman Jarrold Nadler (D-NY) made an opening statement that lasted a little over six minutes, followed by the GOP ranking member’s utterly nonsensical reply. After the two speeches, Chairman Nadler dismissed the panel while Florida man threw a fit.
Then Rep. Cohen shared his bounty of fried chicken with the rest of the panel.
— CSPAN (@cspan) May 2, 2019
“I think the Attorney General deserves no respect. John Mitchell didn’t deserve any respect,” Rep. Cohen told MSNBC making a reference to the former Nixon Attorney General who was convicted for his involvement in the Watergate crimes.
Amazingly, Trump appointed one of Mitchell’s top lieutenants who was part of a vicious Watergate coverup to an ambassadorship, which the GOP-controlled Senate passed without fanfare.
“He has lowered the bar for lawyers and for the attorney general,” said Cohen, who chairs the Judiciary’s subcommittee on the Consitution Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.
Judiciary Chairman Nadler threatened to hold Bill Barr in contempt of the House during the hearing.
Meanwhile, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) just publicly accused Barr of lying to Congress, which is a criminal offense, after yesterday’s hearings, where even a Republican senator pointed out that Trump has not been exonerated. Perjury alone is a reason for the House to hold Barr in contempt and refer him for criminal prosecution.
But there’s another Congressional power Barr should healthily fear which could bring him to the Judiciary Committee’s hot seat. Congress has long-recognized but little used powers of inherent contempt. The House can literally vote to send its Sergeant at Arms to physically compel his testimony.
If Congress invokes its powers of inherent contempt, we could see an enraged or contrite AG Barr appearing before the House Judiciary Committee involuntarily or even tried at the bar of the House.
The showdown between Trump’s attorney general and Congress has dramatically escalated, and Rep. Cohen’s political theater about #ChickenBarr has virally raised the temperature on social media to 350 degrees.
It is too late for Attorney General Bill Barr to avoid political and legal repercussions from his most recent actions since he cannot un-perjure himself to Congress, has no good answers about his White House contacts, and the content of Mueller’s scathing letter is turning into an albatross around his neck.
Watch Rep. Steve Cohen’s speech to reporters after AG Bill Barr refused to attend.
Attorney General Bill Barr should have appeared before the #HouseJudiciaryCommittee, but he was afraid of being questioned by counsel. If he felt confident in the legality of his actions, he would not be afraid. #ChickenBarr is acting as a fixer. #CultureOfCorruption pic.twitter.com/XNZFkqmlPQ
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) May 2, 2019
White House officials don’t think we are giving Attorney General Bill Barr enough respect. I don’t think #ChickenBarr deserves any respect. He has misled Congress and the public, abused his office for political purposes, and trampled on the #Constitution. #CultureOfCorruption pic.twitter.com/Ho37qSUGjA
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) May 2, 2019