(NBC News) Attorney General William Barr refused to attend a House Judiciary Committee hearing focusing on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report Thursday, setting the stage for a legal battle with Congress.
Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler quickly went on the offensive.
“We will have no choice but to move quickly to hold the attorney general in contempt if he stalls or fails to negotiate in good faith,” Nadler said. “If he does not provide this committee with the information it demands and the respect it deserves, Mr. Barr’s moment of accountability will come soon enough.”
Barr cited the questioning format for his refusal to testify. Democrats had planned to allow attorneys to question Barr, while he only wanted to answer to members of Congress.
Republican committee members call the format of the hearing a stunt and blamed the Democrats for Barr’s absence.