Get ready. Barr’s testimony is going to be epic. – Attorney General William Barr appears before the House Judiciary Committee for testimony today, and boy, if you think he’s going in feeling timid and cowed, do you have another think coming.
The Democrat members of the committee, chaired by Gerrold Nadler and including such rank dimwits as Eric Swalwell, Hank Johnson, Stephen Cohen, Sheila Jackson Lee and Ted Lieu, have made clear they intend to use this hearing to demonize Barr and set the pretense to hold impeachment hearings targeted at the AG. All of their bluster is designed to frighten Barr into holding fire on issuing any indictments of the coup plotters until after Election Day in November. You can be sure that pretty much every Democrat will pound on this point.
Mr. Barr is having none of it. The AG released his opening statement last night, and he is coming out with both guns blazing. Here are some excerpts for your reading enjoyment:
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.
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.
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.
From my experience, the President has played a role properly and traditionally played by Presidents. Like his predecessors, President Trump and his National Security Council have appropriately weighed in on law-enforcement decisions that directly implicate national security or foreign policy, because those decisions necessarily involve considerations that transcend typical prosecutorial factors. Moreover, when some noteworthy event occurs that potentially has legal ramifications – such as leaks of classified information, potential civil rights abuses by police, or illegal price fixing or gouging – the President has occasionally, and appropriately, confirmed that the Department is aware of the matter. But the handling of the matter and my decisions on criminal matters have been left to my independent judgment, based on the law and fact, without any direction or interference from the White House or anyone outside the Department.
Indeed, it is precisely because I feel complete freedom to do what I think is right that induced me serve once again as Attorney General. As you know, I served as Attorney General under President George H. W. Bush. After that, I spent many years in the corporate world. I was almost 70 years old, slipping happily into retirement as I enjoyed my grandchildren. I had nothing to prove and had no desire to return to government. I had no prior relationship with President Trump.
The AG also addresses the Democrat/media’s lies about what is taking place in Portland every night in a very direct manner:
Finally, I want to address a different breakdown in the rule of law that we have witnessed over the past two months. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, violent rioters and anarchists have hijacked legitimate protests to wreak senseless havoc and destruction on innocent victims. The current situation in Portland is a telling example. Every night for the past two months, a mob of hundreds of rioters has laid siege to the federal courthouse and other nearby federal property. The rioters arrive equipped for a fight, armed with powerful slingshots, tasers, sledgehammers, saws,knives, rifles, and explosive devices. Inside the courthouse are a relatively small number of federal law enforcement personnel charged with a defensive mission: to protect the courthouse, home to Article III federal judges, from being overrun and destroyed.
What unfolds nightly around the courthouse cannot reasonably be called a protest; it is, by any objective measure, an assault on the Government of the United States. In recent nights, rioters have barricaded the front door of the courthouse, pried plywood off the windows with crowbars,and thrown commercial-grade fireworks into the building in an apparent attempt to burn it down with federal personnel inside.
The rioters have started fires outside the building, and then systematically attacked federal law enforcement officers who attempt to put them out—for example, by pelting the officers with rocks, frozen water bottles, cans of food, and balloons filled with fecal matter. A recent video showed a mob enthusiastically beating a Deputy U.S. Marshal who was trying to protect the courthouse – a property of the United States government funded by this Congress – from further destruction. A number of federal officers have been injured, including one severely burned by a mortar-style firework and three who have suffered serious eye injuries and may be permanently blind.
Largely absent from these scenes of destruction are even superficial attempts by the rioters to connect their actions to George Floyd’s death or any legitimate call for reform. Nor could such brazen acts of lawlessness plausibly be justified by a concern that police officers in Minnesota or elsewhere defied the law.
Remarkably, the response from many in the media and local elected offices to this organized assault has been to blame the federal government. To state what should be obvious, peaceful protesters do not throw explosives into federal courthouses, tear down plywood with crowbars, or launch fecal matter at federal officers. Such acts are in fact federal crimes under statutes enacted by this Congress.
As elected officials of the federal government, every Member of this Committee –regardless of your political views or your feelings about the Trump Administration – should condemn violence against federal officers and destruction of federal property. So should state and local leaders who have a responsibility to keep their communities safe. To tacitly condone destruction and anarchy is to abandon the basic rule-of-law principles that should unite us even in a politically divisive time. At the very least, we should all be able to agree that there is no place in this country for armed mobs that seek to establish autonomous zones beyond government control, or tear down statues and monuments that law-abiding communities chose to erect, or to destroy the property and livelihoods of innocent business owners.
The most basic responsibility of government is to ensure the rule of law, so that people can live their lives safely and without fear. The Justice Department will continue working to meet that solemn responsibility.
Boom. This is a brilliant statement with which to open this hearing, and we can be sure that Mr. Barr will give as good as he takes.
That is all.
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