Attorney General William Barr & Democrats Clash In Heated Hill Testimony
Attorney General William Barr received tough criticism by Democrats during his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Democrats clashed with Barr on forceful intervention in anti-racism protests and the Roger Stone and Michael Flynn prosecutions.
Representatives accused the attorney general of being Trump loyalist.
“The job of the attorney general is to defend the best interests of the people and serve as the people’s lawyer, but during your time as attorney general you have consistently undermined democracy, undermined the Constitution and undermined the health, safety and well-being of the American people,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York). “All to personally benefit Donald Trump.”
“You are supposed to represent the people of the United States of America, not violate people’s First Amendment rights, you are supposed to uphold democracy and secure equal justice under the law, not violently dismantle certain protesters based on the president’s personal agenda,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) said.
Barr, who was often interrupted and not given extra time to explain himself, dismissed the attacks in connection to Stone and Flynn cases and brushed off claims on systemic racism in police, adding protests often featured violence.
“I agree the president’s friends don’t deserve special breaks, but they also don’t deserve to be treated more harshly than other people and sometimes that’s a difficult decision to make, especially when you know you’re going to be castigated for it,” Barr said.
Barr also defended Trump’s response to coronavirus pandemic, blaming governors for ineffective measures.
“Did Cuomo do an incredible job?” Barr said of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Black Democrats also urged Barr to recognize institutional racism issues in the U.S. and pushed him to review the necessity of federal police use during protests.
When Barr dismissed the existence of racism in police departments, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D–Texas) urged him to re-examine the issue.
“I would hope that the DOJ would focus on systemic institutional racism,” Jackson Lee said. “That’s what we need you to join us on, Mr. Attorney General, and to recognize that institutional racism does exist and until we accept that we will not finish our job and reach the goals and aspirations of our late iconic John Lewis.”
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 28, 2020