90 Miles From Tyranny : 6 Big Takeaways From the Attorney General’s Capitol Hill Testimony

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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

6 Big Takeaways From the Attorney General’s Capitol Hill Testimony

Attorney General William Barr announced a new investigation Tuesday while strongly defending the Justice Department’s actions in protecting the federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon.

Barr’s comments came in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, a hearing that not only was partisan as expected but characterized by rudeness by the panel’s Democrats.

A Democrat would ask a question, but when Barr began to answer, he or she would interject, “Reclaiming my time” and continue speaking until the allotted time was up.

Despite this tactic, Barr managed to make several points, though he sometimes had to wait for time reserved for Republicans so that he could answer questions posed by Democrats.

Here are six highlights from the testimony of President Dnald Trump’s attorney general. 

1. New Probe of ‘Unmasking’

Barr announced that he had tasked a federal prosecutor from Texas with investigating the Obama administration’s “unmasking” of former Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and others connected with the Trump campaign in 2016.

Barr told the committee that he assigned U.S. Attorney John Bash of the Western District of Texas to conduct the probe separately from another prosecutor’s ongoing look into the origins of the FBI’s Russia-Trump investigation.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the top Republican on the committee, greeted this as breaking news, as did other Republican members.

In the course of gathering information in surveilling foreign sources, U.S. intelligence agents routinely intercept communications with U.S. citizens.

When that anonymous source is identified at the request of a government official, it’s called unmasking. In and of itself that may not be illegal, but using the person’s identity for political ends could constitute an abuse of power.

Barr previously tasked Bash with this, but apparently that initially was part of the wider probe of the beginnings of the Russia-Trump matter by U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut, rather than a separate investigation.

“Thirty-eight people unmasked Michael Flynn’s name 49 times in a two-month timeframe,” Jordan said. “Seven people at the Treasury Department unmasked Michael Flynn’s name.”

“Is this an issue that Mr. Durham is looking into?” the ranking member then asked.

Barr responded: “I asked another U.S. attorney to look into the issue of unmasking because of the high number of unmaskings and some that do not readily appear to have been in the line of normal business.”

Jordan: “I want to be clear. So, there is another investigation on that issue specifically going on at the Justice Department right now?”

“Yes,” Barr said.

Jordan: “So Mr. Durham is looking at how the whole Trump-Russia thing started. You have another U.S. attorney [investigating]. Can you give us that U.S. attorney’s name? Is that something you’re comfortable with doing?”

Barr: “John Bash of Texas.”

After some back and forth, Jordan said: “I appreciate that. That’s information the committee did not know.”

2. Video of ‘Peaceful Protests’

During his opening remarks, Jordan presented a video showing TV reporters proclaiming the peacefulness of the summer’s protests before cutting to a press conference with the family of David Dorn, 77, a retired St. Louis police captain who was shot and killed by rioters.

The video then went to mass riots in which participants set fires, looted stores, broke windows, and tore down fences.

Jordan played the video days after Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., declared on camera that Antifa, an extremist group believed to be behind much of the violence, was a “myth.”

Later in the hearing, Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., showed his own video of what he called peaceful protests that followed the police killing of a handcuffed black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

3. ‘Cannot Reasonably Be Called Protest’

Nadler accused Barr and the Justice Department of violating Americans’ civil rights in responding to the violence in some U.S. cities.

“Others have lost sight of the importance of civil rights law, but now we see the full force of the federal government brought to bear against...

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bogsidebunny said...

I hope AG Barr's experience at the Capital Democrat inquisition tweaked his "pay-back" hormones in regards to the current Justice Department's Russia hoax investigation.

Kye said...

My "Big Takeaway" is that Barr,like the douche bag before him is a pussy who refuses to MOVE FORWARD and is dragging his heels. He's either stupid or on their team just like Sessions. After all, how did he accept the job then immediately recuse himself from the most important case in progress? They are ALL deep state insiders who care as much about Trump, us or law in America as they do about Nader's ugly obesity.

Peteforester said...

Most of Barr's answers were milquetoast, at best. There were MANY times during this circus... er... HEARING, when Barr's proper answer should have been "I'm not going to say another FUCKING WORD until you SHUT-UP!"

The Dems' quest to get Barr to say something they could use against him later was pathetically transparent.