BARR DEFENDS FEDERAL RESPONSE TO PROTESTS AS DEMOCRATS TWIT HIM
Attorney General William Barr defended the aggressive federal law enforcement response to civil unrest in America as he testified for the first time before the House Judiciary Committee, pushing back against angry, skeptical Democrats who said President Donald Trump’s administration is unconstitutionally suppressing dissent, Mary Clare Jalonick, Michael Balsamo and Eric Tucker wrote for the Associated Press (AP) late on July 28, 2020.
Barr said “violent rioters and anarchists have hijacked legitimate protests” and argued the violence taking place in Portland, Oregon, and other cities is disconnected from Floyd’s killing, which he called a “horrible” event that prompted a necessary national reckoning on the relationship between the Black community and law enforcement. But he also said there was no systemic racism in law enforcement.
Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said the Trump administration had “twisted the Department of Justice into a shadow of its former self,” serving the powerful before average Americans. He claimed Barr had “aided and abetted” Trump’s worst impulses and excoriated him and the Justice Department for turning a blind eye to necessary reforms to police departments, for dismissing Black Lives Matter protests and for flooding streets with federal agents to stop protesters.
The hearing comes during a tumultuous stretch in which Barr has taken actions cheered by President Donald Trump but condemned by Democrats and other critics. Among them: the Justice Department’s decision to drop the prosecution of former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn and Barr’s urging for a more lenient sentence for Trump ally Roger Stone, a move that prompted the entire trial team’s departure. Trump later commuted the sentence entirely.