Brian Williams: Cohen's (D) Chicken Stunt Was 'Possibly the Most Obvious Sign of Dysfunction' on Capitol Hill

May 3, 2019

MSNBC host Brian Williams slammed Rep. Steve Cohen (D., Tenn.) on Thursday night, saying his chicken stunt was "possibly the most obvious sign of dysfunction" on Capitol Hill earlier in the morning.

Williams began the segment by showing a clip of an earlier interview where Cohen said, "the message is William Barr is a chicken" while holding up a rubber chicken. Attorney General William Barr was initially scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday morning, but he decided Wednesday that he would not attend after a dispute over the format of being questioned by the committee's staff attorneys.

"Yeah we got that part, possibly the most obvious sign of dysfunction on Capitol Hill today as the House Judiciary Committee gathered to confront Bill Barr's empty chair this morning, theatrical device number one," Williams said following the clip. "The scene featured a Democratic congressman from Tennessee with a fake chicken and a bucket of KFC and a hearing room with an empty chair lest anybody miss the point about the chicken."

He went on to say House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) probably wished the committee under the leadership of Rep. Jerry Nadler (D., N.Y.) "presented a different face to the world." Before letting Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson go after Cohen, Williams went on to mock Cohen's theatrics.

"Eugene, honestly it does somewhat erode your moral outrage at the bank of microphones in the hallway when you're talking about being stood up by the attorney general when it appears the biggest decision your committee made thus far today was extra crispy or original recipe," Williams said. "As a parent would say, is this how they are going to handle responsibility and is Bob Mueller really going to run down there eager to testify before a committee, despite knowing at least he'll eat well?"

Robinson said he doesn't think Cohen's theatrics was a "good look," adding Cohen should have left the props at home.

"I don't think it worked. Congressman Steve Cohen is a character. He should have stayed out of character, maybe today," Robinson said. "The point was made. Certainly if he wanted to make a point, the empty chair was enough to make the point. That doesn't solve the problem the committee faces, which is they wanted to hear from Bill Barr. He refused to come."