Was the Barr hearing a political stunt?


Fact Box

  • On Tuesday, Attorney General William Barr faced the House Judiciary Committee in a heated hearing that covered various topics involving the Justice Department, from its treatment of cases involving two of President Trump's associates, to protests in Washington, D.C., and Portland, to election integrity and vote-by-mail in the November election.
  • Barr endured five hours of interrogation by the committee’s Democratic politicians, much of which was laden with personal speeches. Traditionally, litigators are the ones who ask detailed questions. 
  • Democrats repeatedly cut off Barr's responses and accused him of being wrong or lying. Barr wasn't allowed extra time at the end of each lawmaker's five minutes to respond to questions that witnesses typically receive.
  • There are currently 22 members of the Judiciary Committee, 12 members of the majority party, and 10 members of the minority party.
  • Article I of the U.S. Constitution vests the House of Representatives with the power to impeach a federal official for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” and the Senate with the power to try all impeachments and convict if it deems that individual’s removal from office both merited and wise. 

Bill (Yes)

The House Judiciary Committee hearing of Attorney General William Barr was nothing more than a five-hour-plus political stunt. From the outset, the Democratic Chairman of the committee, Rep. Gerald Nadler from New York, made no attempt to conceal the purpose of the hearing, which was to embarrass Barr in front of the nation--with the mainstream media's assistance.  

Nadler's treacherous tactics included the following: framing his opening remarks and subsequent questioning of Barr to cast the AG in a harshly negative light; frequently interrupting Barr mid-sentence to deny him the ability to provide context and completeness to his answers; purposely mischaracterizing events under discussion to suit his distorted political narrative designed to make Barr appear to be an enemy of the people.

One need only look at the actual transcript of the hearing to see clear evidence that this was nothing more than a political roasting of AG Barr and a cheap stunt with malicious intent. Nadler characterized the mob violence and mayhem occurring at the Federal Courthouse in Portland, Oregon, as '...citizens demonstrating for the advancement of their own civil rights.' He then went on to criticize Barr for rightly deploying federal law enforcement officers to protect the Courthouse, describing the action taken as an attempt to 'actively seek out conflict with American citizens under such flimsy pretext or for such petty purposes.' Nadler continued the political posturing with the following hyperbole, 'under your leadership [Barr], the department has endangered Americans and violated their constitutional rights by flooding federal law enforcement into the streets of American cities…' 

Barr endured more than five hours of this prolonged political stunt--a shameful abuse of the Democrat-led committee's power.

Tyler (No)

While Attorney General William Barr may have appeared agitated when confronted by Democrats during a House Committee hearing on July 28, the discussed topics--which covered a wide variety of questions for over five hours--are legitimate concerns. The issues shifted from the coronavirus outbreak to police brutality and institutional racism. While the hearing may have had a few combative moments, Rep. Jackson Lee, recognizing the importance of the Department of Justice acknowledging the racial divide in the United States, urged Barr to 'join us in recognizing that institutional racism does exist.' 

Tensions grew when Barr claimed that white people are killed by police more than any other race. Rep. Cedric Richmond referred to this as a 'glaring disparity' since only 15% of the population is black. Richmond later urged Barr to refrain from quoting Civil Rights leader John Lewis, explaining that he is pushing for what Lewis fought against. While Barr did not respond to this, he later clashed with Richmond over his concerns about Russia interfering with the U.S plan to utilize mail-in voting in the upcoming election.

When met with questions about the Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus, Barr blamed the CDC's mishaps on the Obama administration. Barr was also not able to provide evidence to support his claims about the production of counterfeit mail-in voting ballots in other countries. While it may seem that the hearing bombarded Barr with a Democratic agenda, it was Barr's own inability to back up many of his claims that made the event appear so one-sided.

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