'A direct threat to the country': Barr waging 'war' on Justice Department to protect Trump, top Democrat says

‘A direct threat to the country’: Barr waging ‘war’ on Justice Department to protect Trump, top Democrat says


‘A direct threat to the country’: Barr waging ‘war’ on Justice Department to protect Trump, top Democrat says

‘A direct threat to the country’: Barr waging ‘war’ on Justice Department to protect Trump, top Democrat says

'A direct threat to the country': Barr waging 'war' on Justice Department to protect Trump, top Democrat says 1

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Attorney General William Barr‘s leadership of Donald Trump‘s Justice Department represents “a direct threat to the country”, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said on Tuesday, accusing the AG of trampling on civil rights, neglecting to enforce voting rights, and shielding the president from various investigations into his alleged corruption.

“Your tenure is marked by a persistent war against the department’s professional core in an apparent effort to secure favours for the President,” Mr Nadler said, addressing Mr Barr.

Tuesday marks Mr Barr’s first ever appearance before the Judiciary panel, even though he has been Mr Trump’s attorney general for nearly a year and a half and was AG for George HW Bush for 14 months in the early 1990s.


Mr Nadler confronted Mr Barr over the DOJ’s recent decision to deploy federal law enforcement agents to US cities such as Portland, Oregon, to suppress protests against police brutality that have often devolved into riotous behaviour since the death in police custody of Minneapolis man George Floyd in May.

Accusations have abounded of unmarked federal law enforcement units detaining protesters without identifying themselves or their agency affiliation.

“Under your leadership, the Department has endangered Americans and violated their constitutional rights by flooding federal law enforcement into the streets of American cities, against the wishes of the state and local leaders of those cities, to forcefully and unconstitutionally suppress dissent,” Mr Nadler said.

The DOJ’s internal watchdog, Michael Horowitz, has launched an investigation into the events in Portland.

Mr Nadler claimed Mr Barr’s DOJ has “abandoned the victims of police brutality” by failing to hold local police departments to account and expressed “open hostility to the Black Lives Matter movement”.

The panel’s top Republican, Ohio’s Jim Jordan, also set an aggressive tone with his opening remarks.

Mr Jordan recited Mr Trump and many Republicans’ unproven contention that the Obama administration – with the involvement of then-President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden – illegally surveilled the Trump 2016 campaign.

“Spying” is why Democrats are “after you”, Mr Jordan said.

“He won. Now they have to do the cover-up,” Mr Jordan said of Mr Trump, accusing Obama administration Justice Department officials of “going after Flynn.” (That was a reference to Michael Flynn, the retired Army three-star general who advised Mr Trump’s 2016 campaign and briefly was his first national security adviser.)

With an eye towards November’s presidential election, Mr Jordan alleged corruption at the highest levels of the “Obama-Biden” Justice Department.

In a continuing preview of Republicans’ plan for the hearing, the combative ranking Republican member also blasted the “defund the police” movement and said protests in many major US cities have been anything but “peaceful”.

Mr Jordan’s opening attack lines echoed narratives pushed in recent months by Mr Trump – despite plummeting poll numbers on his handling of the demonstrations following Mr Floyd’s death.


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