“Madam Speaker, did you bring your handcuffs?” he cracked as the two crossed paths at an event honoring law enforcement on Wednesday, according to multiple reports, including one in the New York Times.
Pelosi reportedly replied by noting that the House sergeant-at-arms was at the event should anyone need to be arrested.
The Times said Pelosi smiled and Barr chuckled during the encounter, but the administration’s dispute with Congress has not exactly yielded many laughs thus far.
Barr’s crack was a reference to some lawmakers calling for the arrest of members of the administration who refuse to comply with subpoenas.
“We know how to arrest people around here. And if we need to arrest someone, the [House] sergeant-at-arms will know how to do it,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) told Politico. “If they can arrest my constituents, we can arrest someone else who’s disobeying the law.”
Pelosi herself has accused Barr of committing a crime, saying he lied to Congress about the Mueller investigation.
“What is deadly serious about it is the attorney general of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States,” Pelosi said earlier this month. “That’s a crime.”
But she has also used the threat of jail as a punchline.
“Let me just say that we do have a jail down in the basement of the Capitol,” she said last week at a Washington Post event. “But if we were arresting all of the people in the administration, we would have an overcrowded jail situation, and I’m not for that.”