Democrats might not be so anxious to talk to Bill Barr for a while.
The attorney general faced down hours of pontificating liberals on Tuesday, stolidly slapping back efforts to smear both his own performance and the Trump administration while repeatedly taking the fight to Democrats intent on trying to put him on the defensive.
And when he was offered the chance to do a little pontificating of his own, he made the most of it.
The House Judiciary Committee hearing was chaired by Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, a viciously vindictive man whose history of personal and professional clashes with now-President Donald Trump goes back decades. (As The Washington Post reported, they first butted heads over a Trump real estate project in Manhattan in 1985.)
For the most part, the day was made up of a series of open attacks by Democratic lawmakers eager to score points with an avidly watching Twitter audience, but Barr stayed largely on the offensive.
For instance, Nadler tried to accuse Barr of orchestrating events like the deployment of federal agents to the United States courthouse in Portland, Oregon, just to arouse Trump’s political base, according to The Daily Wire.
But when Nadler turned a question over to Republican Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio, Barr took it to the Democrats — and their street thugs rioting in American cities — by asking questions every sane American can relate to.
Attorney General William Barr: “Federal courts are under attack. Since when is it okay to burn down a federal court? … Is that okay? Is that okay now?” pic.twitter.com/WRunuGBaFK
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) July 28, 2020
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Chabot set Barr up with a softball lob, asking the attorney general if it’s the Trump administration’s responsibility “to see that federal laws are upheld, and to see that federal property is secure and safe and protected. Is that correct?”
In his response, Barr noted that the federal government is responsible for enforcing federal law throughout the country – “every square foot of the country,” in fact. But then he got to the part about federal property, and that’s where the rubber hit the road.
Calling U.S. courthouses “the heart of federal law,” he said, “we have the obligation to protect federal courts, and U.S. Marshals specifically have been given that obligation.”
Anyone with even passing knowledge of current events knows that one particular piece of federal property, the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse in Portland, Oregon, has been under nightly siege by anarchists for going on two months now.
Trump’s decision to send federal agents to protect the courthouse in early July has become a flashpoint for liberal lawmakers who accuse him of fomenting unrest (apparently, they’re hoping Americans forget there was rioting before the federal agents were dispatched).
“Federal courts are under attack,” Barr said. “Since when is it OK to try to burn down a federal court?”
Apparently realizing that the events in the Northwest might be too difficult for some of his Democratic listeners to comprehend, Barr brought the example closer to the Capitol — the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse, home of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
“If someone went down the street to the Prettyman court here, that beautiful courthouse we have right at the bottom of the hill, and started breaking windows and firing industrial-grade fireworks in to start a fire, threw kerosene balloons and start fires in the court, is that OK?”
His voice rose as his glance seemed to take in the Democrats on the panel.
“Is that OK, now?”
“No,” he answered his own question. “The U.S. Marshals have a duty to stop that and defend the courthouse, and that’s what we are doing in Portland.”
Only a political party that allies itself with the kind of trash that’s staging nightly violence in Portland these days could take exception to Barr’s response.
But Barr’s ability to give unflinching responses like that is probably why Judiciary Committee Democrats spent more time enjoying the sound of their own voices making accusatory statements than letting the attorney general of the United States address the American people.
If nothing else, since being confirmed in February 2019 to his second stint as attorney general, Barr has proven he’s not afraid of fighting back when Democrats go on the attack. His performance on Tuesday was no exception as Democrats repeatedly interrupted his answers in an attempt to score their own political points.
And Twitter users noticed.
Barr has to feel like something of a bad-ass that the only way Democrats think they have even a hope of surviving this “hearing” is to prohibit him from uttering a single word.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) July 28, 2020
I believe the Dems. have really shot themselves in the foot with this one sided hearing. Why are they fearful of hearing what Attorney General Barr has to say. Regardless of what side of the aisle you’re on I don’t know how anyone could call it a fair hearing.
— Purnell E. Johnson, Sr., JD (@Elsworth1216) July 28, 2020
THE ONLY WAY DEMS CAN LOGICALLY WIN AN ARGUEMENT IS BY MUZZLING THEIR OPPONENT.
— Joe Conservative (@FreedomRank2017) July 28, 2020
That last one puts it perfectly.
“Muzzling their opponent” is the one thing Democrats have become adept at during the Trump years, but when it comes to William Barr, that strategy is a dismal failure.
Crazed and senseless as Democrats sometimes seem, there isn’t one in elected office who’s likely to try to stand up and explain to American voters why it’s OK for the proletariat of Portland to continually attack and try to destroy a federal courthouse paid for American taxpayers dollars, forcing it to be protected by federal agents likewise paid for by taxpayer dollars.
In the Twitter world, liberals appear to be going crazy claiming victory over Barr.
But Democrats who were actually there have to know better.
After this performance, they might not be so anxious to call the attorney general back to Capitol Hill.
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