Law & the Courts

Barr to Pelosi: ‘Did You Bring Your Handcuffs?’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi walks behind President Trump and Attorney General William Barr at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service on Capitol Hill May 15, 2019. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Attorney General Bill Barr reportedly made a sardonic quip Wednesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi referencing his differences with House Democrats, asking her if she had “brought her handcuffs.”

“Madam Speaker, did you bring your handcuffs?” Barr asked Pelosi at the 38th annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service Wednesday morning.

Several rank-and-file Democratic lawmakers have called for the attorney general to be arrested since his congressional testimony in April.

Barr was asked during an April Appropriations Committee hearing whether he knew what news reports were referring to that claimed members of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team were dissatisfied with his four-page summary of Mueller’s final report. Barr said that he was not, an answer seemingly contradicted by subsequent reports that he’d previously received a letter from Mueller and spoken with the special counsel over the telephone about investigators’ concerns with the summary.

The House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Barr in contempt of Congress on May 8.

Pelosi has not directly entertained the notion of arresting Barr, but did imply the attorney general had committed the crime of falsifying his testimony to Congress.

“He lied to Congress. And if anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime,” the speaker said last month. “Nobody is above the law. Not the president of the United States. Not the attorney general.

“We do have a jail in the basement of the Capitol, but if we were arresting all of the people in the administration, we would have an overcrowded jail situation,” Pelosi said last week when asked about the possibility of a criminal prosecution for Barr. “And I’m not for that.”

“There is a process involved here and as I said, I’ll say it again, the committee will have to come to how we will proceed,” she said.

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