Attorney General Bill Barr listens to a roundtable discussion with law enforcement hosted by US President Donald Trump at the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 8, 2020.
Kevin Lamarck Reuters
Attorney General William Barr is due to testify before Congress on Tuesday that “brutal riots and anarchists”; “seized” protests over the death of George Floyd, “to wreak havoc and wipe out innocent victims.”
In preparing the remarks, Barr also offered full protection for his heavily criticized behavior in the federal probe of Russian interference, the sin of the “mad” scandal of “Russiaget” and claiming that President Donald Trump did not act improperly.
Barr was to make a statement to the Democrat-led Judiciary Committee. The hearing comes more than a month after DNR President Jerrold Nadler threatened to summon Barra to testify after Jeffrey Berman was fired as a U.S. attorney in New York’s Southern District.
Barra’s spokesman announced that on June 24, the Attorney General had accepted an invitation to a “general oversight hearing.” The hearings mark Barr’s first-ever appearance before a panel of the Judiciary during his tenure in the Trump administration and its first session before Congress in more than a year.
The hearing was originally scheduled for 10 a.m., but was delayed until about 10:45 a.m. after a “minor accident,” a committee spokesman told CNBC.
Barr’s introductory speech, published Monday night by several outlets, did not directly address the beating of Berman. Most likely, Barr accused the Democrats in the college of using the hearings to further their attempts to “discredit me by bringing out the story that I am just a fact of the president who handles criminal cases on his instructions.”
He said Trump “did not try to interfere” in criminal cases falling within the purview of the attorney general. “In my experience, the president has played a proper role and has traditionally been played by presidents,” he said.
Barr’s statement focuses heavily on Floyd, a black man whose death at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis sparked a wave of protests across the United States.
The assassination of Floyd “clearly upset the whole country and made us think about the ancient problems of our nation,” Barr said in a statement. “Given our history, it is clear that there is at least some ambivalence and often distrust of the police among black Americans.”
But events such as Floyd’s death are “fortunately quite rare” today, Barr said. He warned that the “demonization” of the police and “grossly irresponsible proposals” to eliminate them were “serious damage to our internal communities.”
Barr defended the deployment of federal law enforcement in cities such as Portland, Oregon, where clashes between police and protesters became increasingly violent.
“What unfolds every night around the courthouse cannot reasonably be called a protest; it is an attack on the United States government by any objective measure,” Barr said.
“In order to be clear, peaceful protesters do not throw explosives into federal buildings, tear up plywood with scrap metal, or launch fecal cases from federal officers. Such actions are in fact federal crimes under the statutes passed by this Congress.”
Barr’s statement called on all members of the House Judiciary Committee to “condemn the violence against federal officials and the destruction of federal property.”
“Silently indulging in destruction and anarchy is abandoning the basic principles of the rule of law, which should unite us even at politically divergent times,” he said.