Attorney General William Barr (AG Barr) fiercely defended law enforcement and his application of the rule of law in his opening remarks before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
A transcript of his prepared remarks was obtained beforehand by Fox News. According to the transcript, AG Barr was also supposed to blast the “bogus Russiagate Scandal,” but wasn’t able to do so since he did not give his entire opening statement at the hearing.
This was because just prior to his opening statement, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., informed the Attorney General that he had to summarize his remarks in five minutes.
In his own opening remarks, Rep. Nadler accused Attorney General Barr of endangering Americans and declaring “war” on the Department of Justice’s “professional core.”
“You have aided and abetted the worst failings of the president,” Rep. Nadler said. “Under your leadership, the [Department of Justice] has endangered Americans and violated their constitutional rights by flooding federal law enforcement into the streets of American cities… to forcibly and unconstitutional suppress dissent.”
Rep. Nadler also expressed concerns over Attorney General Barr’s supposed failures to properly address alleged systemic racism at the Department of Justice.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, said in his fiery opening remarks, “Spying. That one word. That’s why they’re after you Mr. Attorney General. 15 months ago, April 10, 2019, at a Senate hearing, you said this sentence, ‘I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal.’… It sure is. And since that day, when you had the courage to state the truth, they attack you. They’ve been attacking you ever since, every day, every week, for simply stating the truth that the Obama-Biden Administration spied on the Trump campaign.”
The Attorney General focused his shortened opening remarks on defending law enforcement.
“Police forces today are far more diverse than ever before; there are both more black police chiefs and more black officers in the ranks. Although the death of George Floyd – an unarmed black man – at the hands of the police was a shocking event, the fact is that such events are fortunately quite rare. According to statistics compiled by The Washington Post, the number of unarmed black men killed by police so far this year is 8. The number of unarmed white men killed by police over the same time period is 11. Some unarmed suspects, moreover, were physically attacking officers or threatening others at the time they were shot,” AG Barr stated.
The Attorney General continued, “The threat to black lives posed by crimes on the streets is massively greater than any threat posed by police misconduct. The leading cause of death for young black males is homicide. Every year approximately 7,500 black Americans are victims of homicide, and the vast majority of them – around 90 percent – are killed by other blacks, mainly by gunfire. Each of those lives matter.”
During the contentious confirmation hearing, much of the questioning revolved around the current violent riots in the Portland courthouse. House Democrats tried to paint the events in Portland as caused and stoked by the president in order to help his reelection campaign. House Democrats also repeatedly interrupted AG Barr in his attempt to answer their statements.
During questioning from Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., the representative told AG Barr, “Your opening remarks read like it was written by Alex Jones or Roger Stone.”
During his five minutes, Rep. Johnson interrupted AG Barr by saying, “Reclaiming my time,” no less than 12 times as AG Barr tried to answer his questions.
“You have to let him answer,” Rep. Jordan told Rep. Johnson.
“Madam chair, you can give a speech, or you can ask questions. If you do the latter, you need to let the witness answer the questions. That’s the chair’s obligation and the chair’s responsibility to let that happen,” Rep. Jordan said.
Other combative questions during the hearing revolved around police use of force, AG Barr’s recommended dismissal of the case against Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and his recommendation of a lighter sentence for Trump ally Roger Stone than what line prosecutors had recommended.
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