Politics

Barr To Come Out Swinging On Violent Crime, Russia Probe In First House Judiciary Committee Appearance

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In his first-ever appearance before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Attorney General Bill Barr will condemn the “grave abuses” in the “bogus Russiagate scandal,” while also highlighting Black-on-Black violence and defending law enforcement officers in no uncertain terms, according to a transcript of his prepared remarks obtained by Fox News on Monday night.

Barr’s unusually aggressive posture will be matched by similarly full-throated arguments from GOP lawmakers on the panel, including ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Fox News is told.

“Ever since I made it clear that I was going to do everything I could to get 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,” Barr is expected to say at the outset of his remarks. “Judging from the letter inviting me to this hearing, that appears to be your agenda today.”

Barr will go on to deny that Trump has improperly interfered with any of his decisions, before pointing to statistics showing progress on racial-justice issues, according to his prepared remarks.

“Police forces today are far more diverse than ever before; there are both more Black police chiefs and more Black officers in the ranks,” Barr is expected to say. “Although the death of George Floyd – an unarmed Black man – at the hands of the police was a shocking event, the fact is that such events are fortunately quite rare. According to statistics compiled by the Washington Post, the number of unarmed Black men killed by police so far this year is eight. The number of unarmed White men killed by police over the same time period is 11. Some unarmed suspects, moreover, were physically attacking officers or threatening others at the time they were shot. And, the overall number of police shootings has been decreasing.”

At the same time, the attorney general is expected to say, Black Americans too often kill each other. “The threat to Black lives posed by crime on the streets is massively greater than any threat posed by police misconduct,” Barr’s remarks read. “The leading cause of death for young Black males is homicide. Every year approximately 7,500 Black Americans are victims of homicide, and the vast majority of them – around 90 percent – are killed by other Blacks, mainly by gunfire. Each of those lives matter.”

A Democratic counsel to the committee told Fox News that there will be roughly four-and-a-half to five hours of questioning, covering topics from civil rights to his alleged deference to the White House. Barr’s “no-holds-Barr’d” appearance is voluntary and not responsive to any subpoena, and Fox News is told executive privilege has not been exerted at this time to shield any topics or discussions – although that could change during the hearing.

For Barr, the remarks will be an opportunity to reinforce his image as a lawman’s lawman. Just before Christmas, he visited New York’s One Police Plaza to meet with New York Police Department brass after a series of suicides among New York police officers. Later that night, he hosted a thank-you dinner for hundreds of officers. The NYPD sent two officers from each precinct, along with some chiefs, the NYPD’s commissioner and his chief deputy.

Now more than perhaps any other time in modern history, law enforcement has been under sustained assault, as documented by videos and body camera footage from federal and local officers. An article by The Associated Press on Sunday documented the harrowing scene inside a Portland federal courthouse, where rioters have been gathering nightly to fire explosives at the building. Rioters also have fired lasers into… (Read more)

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