The U.S. Attorney General, William Barr, has defended him against Democratic attack over protest.
In what was his first testimony before the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee since taking office in 2019, Barr rejected accusations of Justice Department intervening in high profile cases and sending federal to U.S cities to disperse anti-racism protesters at President Trump’s bidding.
Responding to assertions from the Chairman of House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, on Tuesday July 28, 2020, Barr said he was not doing President Trump’s bidding sending federal officers to cities as an effort to support the President’s re-election campaign.
“Your tenure is marked by a persistent war against the Department’s professional core in an apparent effort to secure favors for the president,” said Nadler to Barr while opening the hearing.
Barr, defending the action of deploying federal agents to cities such Portland, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. to curb the actions of protesters, said it was an expedient move to hold stop protesters at bay and prevent properties from being further destroyed.
“We cannot just stand aside and watch the federal courthouse be destroyed,” said, Barr.
He has cited arson and violence caused by the protesters in the cities and has called for criminal charges to be brought on the demonstrators by the federal prosecutors.
Barr, while responding to questions from Democrats repeated interruptions from the democrats, allowing him a little time to answer their questions.
The Republicans grabbed the opportunity when it was their turn to ask questions as they let him use the moment to respond to criticism from the Democrats, giving him an edge to stay on point.
Speaking about the degree of the interruption from the Democtats, Jim Jordan, a ranking member of Committee Republicans, said, “I don’t think we’ve ever had a hearing where the witness wasn’t allowed to respond to points made, questions asked, and attacks made.”
Responding to a question raised by Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat, about systemic racism, Barr said he didn’t agree there ever was systemic racism in the system.
“You indicated that the killing of George Floyd was shocking. I disagree. You seem to have a difficult time understanding systemic racism and institutional racism that has plagued so many,” said Jackson Lee.
“I don’t agree that there’s systemic racism in police departments,” Barr responded.
Last week, the Justice Department launched probe into federal involvement in the peaceful protests in cities such as Portland and Washington, D.C.
There have been series of unending peaceful protests across the U.S cities against racism and police brutality following the murder of George Floyd, an African American who died on May 25 after a police kneeled on his neck.