Attorney General William Barr plans to pull no punches in his Tuesday appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, a transcript of his opening remarks show.
The opening statement, released Monday evening, show a defiant Barr defending his conduct as paramount to getting “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,” the attorney general’s statement reads.
“Judging from your letter inviting me to this hearing, that appears to be your agenda today.”
Barr goes on to say how President Trump “has not attempted to interfere in these decisions,” before offering some insight into the working relationship between the two.
“Indeed, it is precisely because I feel complete freedom to do what I think is right that induced me serve once again as Attorney General. As you know, I served as Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush. After that, I spent many years in the corporate world.
“I was almost 70 years old, slipping happily into retirement as I enjoyed my grandchildren. I had nothing to prove and had no desire to return to government. I had no prior relationship with President Trump,” Barr explained, illustrating that he does not have a blind loyalty to the commander-in-chief.
“When asked to consider returning, I did so because I revere the Department and believed my independence would allow me to help steer her back to her core mission of applying on standard of justice for everyone and enforcing the law even-handedly, without partisan considerations,” the Attorney General continued.
Barr will face considerable scrutiny from House Democrats on the Hill during his testimony, who have accused the attorney general of politicizing the Justice Department, undermining the Trump-Russia probe, being involved in the clearing of protesters by police so Trump could visit a church near the White House, and the ousting of US Attorney Geoffrey Berman.
In his opening statement, Barr addressed the murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man killed by police, and the subsequent push for racial equality and the end to police brutality.
“The horrible killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis understandably jarred the whole country and forced us to reflect on longstanding issues in our nation. Those issues obviously relate to the relationship between law enforcement and the African American community,” the statement reads.
Barr goes on to offer some appreciation for the desire to fight racism in society, including in law enforcement and policing, but warns against the “defund the police” messaging being seen in protests nationwide.
“I think it would be an oversimplification to treat the problem as rooted in some deep-seated racism generally infecting our police departments. It seems far more likely that the problem stems from a complex mix of factors, which can be addressed with focused attention overtime,” his statement continues.
The attorney general has not testified before this committee since taking the nation’s top law enforcement job in late 2018.
In May of last year, he ruffled feathers with committee leadership when he skipped his scheduled appearance before the committee.
In organizing this testimony, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) stepped in to calm the troubled waters between Barr and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler over threats of subpoenas and a possible impeachment inquiry.
As rumors circulated about the potential for the committee to hit Barr with a subpoena, Jordan wrote Nadler a letter urging him instead to privately find a mutually agreeable date for the attorney general to testify.
Nadler has slammed Barr most recently over Berman’s firing, arguing that he deserved to be impeached for his actions while cautioning that the effort would be a “waste of time.”
Share this article:
Source: Read Full Article