Rep. Steve Cohen brings prop chicken to criticize Barr no-show at House hearing

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., brought a prop chicken to a House committee hearing Thursday on special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference, after U.S. Attorney General William Barr signaled he’d skip the meeting.

Barr declined to testify amid a disagreement over whether to allow staff attorneys to question him. Cohen appeared at Thursday morning’s hearing with a bucket of KFC and a plastic chicken, which he placed by the attorney general’s microphone.

“Chicken Barr should have shown up today and answered questions,” Cohen said after the hearing ended. “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.”

He accused the attorney general of acting as President “Donald Trump’s fixer.”

“The president is not above the law,” he said.

Republican lawmakers said Barr’s decision not to testify was squarely the fault of Democrats who insisted on allowing unnecessary staff questioning. They argue Democrats are trying to have impeachment hearings without going through the official process of impeachment.

Democrats have vowed to subpoena Barr for his testimony and the full, unredacted Mueller report. The Justice Department last month released a redacted version of the 448-page report.

The standoff with the Justice Department is one of several fights House Democrats are waging with the Trump administration. Trump has vowed to fight "all of the subpoenas" as multiple committees have sought to speak with administration officials or obtain documents relevant to his policies and finances. Democrats have signaled they won't back down and will take the steps necessary — including in court — to get the White House to comply.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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