Barr defends aggressive federal response to protests

AG Bill Barr to take Aggressive Stance in Judiciary Committee Hearing

Attorney General Bill Barr plans to take an aggressive stance when he testifies before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday reported Fox News.  A transcript of Barr’s prepared remarks to the Committee revealed that the AG intended to cover a number of topical issues during his testimony.

Barr’s opening remarks will address the continuing attacks against him made by Democrats that he is simply a rubber stamp for President Donald Trump.  “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,” Barr’s statement reads.  He will state that President Trump has acted in the same manner as that of previous presidents, according to the Washington Post.

Barr then references his previous service as Attorney General under the George H.W. Bush administration and asserted, “I had nothing to prove and had no desire to return to government.”  He said he decided to return to the AG position when he observed the increasing politicization of the Justice Department.

Barr defended the work of law enforcement across the nation and stated the increasing diversity of police departments.  “Police forces today are far more diverse than ever before; there are both more Black police chiefs and more Black officers in the ranks,” Barr’s remarks read. “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 eight. 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. And, the overall number of police shootings has been decreasing.”

Barr references the most dangerous threat to black lives in America today.  He is expected to say, “The threat to Black lives posed by crime 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.”

Barr’s remarks indicate that he will defend the use of federal officers in the defense of federal property across the nation, especially the attacks on the federal courthouse in Portland, OR.  “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,” Barr’s prepared remarks read. “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.”

Barr’s transcript indicates that he intends to show a clear separation between the rioters in Portland and legitimate, peaceful protesters.  He will state that the Portland rioters, “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.”

The tenor of Barr’s statement and the likely attempts by Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee to score political points during an election year promise a contentious hearing.

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