On Tuesday, Attorney General William Barr testified to the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill. Committee chairman Jerold Nadler (D-NY)made his opening statement after an hour delay because he was in a minor car accident but sustained no injuries. He proceeded with his opening statement which he accused the Attorney General of being in a war with the Department’s US Attorneys by attempting to procure favors for the President among other unfounded accusations. “In your time at the department, you have aided and abetted the worst failings of the president,” Nadler said.
AG Barr’s opening statement confirmed his resolve to uphold the rule of law and to have equal justice under the law for every citizen.
“We are in a time when the political discourse in Washington often reflects the politically divided nation in which we live, and too often drives that divide even deeper. Political rhetoric is inherent in our democratic system, and politics is to be expected by politicians, especially in an election year. While that may be appropriate here on Capitol Hill or on cable news, it is not acceptable at the Department of Justice. At the Department, decisions must be made with no regard to political pressure — pressure from either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, or from the media or mobs“. He continued, “Ever since I made it clear that I was going to do everything I could to get to the bottom of the grave abuses involved in the bogus “Russiagate” scandal, many of the Democrats on this Committee have attempted to discredit me by conjuring up a narrative that I am simply the President’s factotum who disposes of criminal cases according to his instructions. Judging from the letter inviting me to this hearing, that appears to be your agenda today. So let me turn to that first”.
Barr added, “As I said in my confirmation hearing, the Attorney General has a unique obligation. He holds in trust the fair and impartial administration of justice. He must ensure that there is one standard of justice that applies to everyone equally and that criminal cases are handled even-handedly, based on the law and the facts, and without regard to political or personal considerations. I can tell you that I have handled criminal matters that have come to me for decision in this way”.
Of particular note, Barr stated that the President has not interfered in the running of the Department of Justice. He has stated on several occasions that “The President has not attempted to interfere in these decisions. On the contrary, he has told me from the start that he expects me to exercise my independent judgment to make whatever call I think is right. That is precisely what I have done“.
Opening Statement of Attorney General William P. Barr Before the House Judiciary Committee https://t.co/4F92QYm9kQ
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) July 28, 2020
Jim Jordan made a statement that called out Chairman Nadler’s “Antifa is a myth” comment by presenting an almost 9-minute video depicting the “peaceful protests” that the Democrats have been citing for months now. The video showed an accurate representation of what is actually happening in cities like Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis, and other hotbed cities across the nation. The rioting, looting, vandalism, crime, and assault on federal and local police officers were on full display in the hearing room broadcast for the world to see. Chairman Nadler cut the video short so if you are interested you can view the video in it’s entirety here.
The same person who called #Antifa “imaginary” and a “myth” doesn’t want you to see the truth.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) July 28, 2020
Barr battled back and forth with the Democrat representatives, like clockwork they asked him to explain but then they cut him off by stating “Reclaiming my time“. At one point, Democrat Representative Lou Correa (D-CA) asked Barr about the decision to not include illegal immigrants in the census count. Correa read a portion of the constitution that stated that the census would include all whole persons “Are undocumented people in this country, not whole people“? Barr responded “Well they are obviously whole people, but the legal issue there was the terminology of the constitution” and then Correa interrupted “If I may“, Barr continued “It reflects the decision at the time of the constitution that they count and have been” Correa interrupted again “Reclaiming my time, sir“. Correa then proceeded to bring up a letter that was written in 1989 by then-Assistant Attorney General Carroll T. Crawford. Barr began to explain “This came up because Alabama claimed you cannot count illegal aliens in the census under the constitution. The Department looked at it and advised that Congress can determine the meaning of inhabitant for this purpose that is is not a self-defining term as they recognize” Correa interrupted “I’ve only got two minutes, sir” Barr shot back “Yeah, but this is a hearing, I thought I was the one who supposed to be heard“.
Primila Jayapal (D-WA) asked Barr about the President’s walk from the White House to St John’s church and the decision that was made much earlier in the day to push back the rioters that were congregating around the area. When Barr tried to respond to Jayapal’s description of the events stating there was no use of tear gas (pepper spray was used) Jayapal interrupted because she didn’t like Barr’s response and then stated she was “starting to lose her temper“. Over and over the Democrats tried to push Attorney Barr into a “Yes” or “No” answer and Barr refused, justifiably, to comply.
One of the most telling interactions came when Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL) first showed a video of rioters and stated that it was from Venezuala (which it was from several riots around the US). He stated, “That I think the force is being deployed against rioters and or in situations where “protesters” [he used air quotes] are not following police direction“. Then she proceeded to ask the Attorney General if he would wait to release the Durham report. Mucarsel-Powell asked, “Under oath, do you commit to not releasing any report by Mr. Durham before the November election“? Barr responded, “No“. Mucarsel-Powell agitated at this point, “You don’t commit to that?” Barr, “No“.
The President tweeted in response to the day’s events:
Vote these people out. They are CRAZY! #2020 https://t.co/ktRw2pJUFa
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2020
The entire hearing can be viewed here.