Congressman shades Attorney General Barr by bringing bucket of KFC and chicken statue to the hearing Barr skipped

By Caitlin O'Kane

/ CBS News

A congressman threw a bit of shade at Attorney General William Barr after the AG decided not to appear at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tennessee, started eating a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken at 9 a.m. while lawmakers and the press waited to see if Barr would show up on the Hill. Cohen then left the bucket — along with a ceramic chicken — on the table where Barr would have sat.

The attorney general spent more than five hours testifying at a Senate hearing on Wednesday, defending his summary of the Mueller report's findings. Democrats pressed Barr on a letter special counsel Robert Muller sent him, in which Mueller complained that Barr didn't "fully capture" the substance of his Russia report.

Rep. Steve Cohen made a statement by eating chicken at a Judiciary Committee hearing after Attorney General Bill Barr refused to appear for more testimony about the Mueller report. Jim Watson / AFP/Getty Images

Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-New York, opened Thursday's hearing with a statement about Barr's decision not to show up. Nadler said it was emblematic of a bigger issue within the Trump administration, where officials have declined to appear before congressional committees, and said the president has "prevented us from obtaining information about voting rights, the ACA (Affordable Care Act), and family separations."

cohen-chicken.png
When the hearing was dismissed, Cohen left his KFC bucket and a chicken figurine at the table where Barr would have sat. CBSN

While Nadler criticized Barr outright, Cohen decided to take a symbolic approach. After digging in to his bucket of KFC during the opening statements, Cohen made sure to stop at the front of the room when the hearing was dismissed. Reporters captured images of Cohen leaving the bucket and a chicken figurine on the table before he left. Twitter was ablaze after the photos hit social media, some of which Cohen retweeted himself.

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When a Twitter user asked why he brought a bucket of chicken to the hearing, Cohen replied: "Why is this hearing different from all other hearings?"

Why is this hearing different from all other hearings? https://t.co/zLzsGn3K5D

— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) May 2, 2019

One reporter said when Barr's absence was mentioned, Cohen pointed to the bucket of chicken and said, "He's here."

[email protected] 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

Cohen later brought the ceramic chicken with him while Democrats addressed the press. "Chicken Barr should have shown up today and answered questions," he said, holding up the statue.

"Chicken Barr should have shown up today and answered questions," Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) says, as he holds up a chicken statue. https://t.co/GB1CXMt4Nw pic.twitter.com/rHaJ6dvtRw

— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 2, 2019

First published on May 2, 2019 / 10:10 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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