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Pelosi and Barr share a gag about prison and handcuffs



WASHINGTON – It is not every day in Washington that the Attorney General dares to challenge the Speaker of the House to lock him up.

But while he was mingling behind the scenes at VIPs during an event in the honor of law enforcement at Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning, Attorney General William P. Barr apparently saw the occasion of a gag – or was it a taunting? Anyway, he tried.

"Madam Speaker," Barr said, addressing California President Nancy Pelosi for a handshake. "Have you brought your handcuffs?"

Pelosi, whose Democratic caucus is preparing to condemn Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over Robert S. Mueller III's full report, joked last week that the House still had access to 39; a "small prison" that she could use, if necessary.

Approaching Mr. Barr, she smiled and replied that the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House was present for the ceremony, though his services were necessary, according to one witness. Mr Barr chuckled and went away, the hands of the No. 1 Democratic enemy still free.

Not that anyone is calling for a thaw.

Ms. Pelosi has accused Mr. Barr of having lied to Congress, a federal crime, about his relationship with the team of the special advocate. Democratic legislators are waiting for a vote on the ground to condemn it in defiance of Congress. They even considered the power to impose fines and to place the unwilling witness in a brig of the House – a slim possibility, although this apparently caught the attention of Mr. Barr.

It is hard to exaggerate the fury of the Democrats against Mr. Barr, who was sworn in this year for a second term as Attorney General, a position he also held under George Bush's administration. They argued with him about the administration's immigration policy and the Department of Justice's decision not to defend the Affordable Care Act in court.

But that's the way Mr. Barr dealt with Mr. Mueller's 448-page report that prompted Democrats to compare themselves to Roy Cohn, Mr. Trump's repairman who was dismissed for violating ethics, and to call for the impeachment of Mr. Barr. The Democrats thought that Mr. Barr had incorrectly stated that the President had not obstructed justice, despite the evidence presented by Mr. Mueller.


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