WASHINGTON — Attorney General Bill Barr is defending his tenure.
Barr testified in a House hearing and called himself an independent attorney general. New York Democrat Jerry Nadler opened a hearing and accused Barr of taking actions “in an apparent effort to secure favors” for President Trump.
Barr defended President Trump’s surge of federal law enforcement agents into some cities. He said some protests have been hijacked by “violent rioters and anarchists” and argued that federal properties must be protected.
Barr also accused many protesters of demonizing police. Officials in Portland say the presence of federal agents has actually heightened tensions.
Protests broke out in many cities after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who suffocated while in police custody in Minneapolis. In a longer written statement, Barr also tried to discredit the Russia investigation. He argued what he called “Russiagate” was “bogus.”
Special Counsel Robert Mueller spent nearly two years investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, concluding that Russia’s efforts were sweeping and systemic.
Nadler also claimed Barr has interfered in criminal investigations to protect President Trump and his allies.
Barr accused Democrats of falsely alleging he is a Trump loyalist who does the President’s bidding. Barr said he believes the criminal justice process has been used increasingly as a political weapon.