Attorney General Bill Barr’s planned appearance before the House Judiciary Committee yesterdat was expected to be intense – and it was. As much as Republicans cheered his efforts as the nation’s top law enforcement official, he was lambasted by Democrats. And he fired right back.
Along the way, Barr insisted that he is “independent” and is “not influenced by President Trump” in any way. Here are some highlights of the encounter:
Barr also told lawmakers that the President was right to surge federal law enforcement agents into some cities to quell violent protests. He said federal properties must be protected.
Barr also said he does not believe there is systemic racism in police departments, or "generally in this country." New York Democrat Jerry Nadler, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, accused Barr of helping Trump use federal agents as a "prop" to help his re-election. He told Barr, "Shame on you."
Washington state Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal [[JAY-uh-pau ]] slammed the federal law enforcement surge, saying it is part of Trump's political agenda.
California Democrat Zoe [[zo]] Lofgren called the surge a distraction from the President's management of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. She called Trump's handling of the outbreak a “failure.”
As for Barr, he passionately pushed back against the attacks – especially when it came to the suggestion that those close to the President get special treatment.
"I agree the President's friends don't deserve special breaks” Barr noted. “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.”