Bill Barr proved he remains Trump's personal Toad ....errrr toady, at the House Judiciary hearing yesterday.
Bill Barr, Trump's pet AG, toady and gofer, faced a combative grilling during a House Judiciary hearing yesterday that proved how cannily he had mastered the dark arts of dissembling, distraction and disinformation. In other words, Barr emphatically confirmed he was the Trump toad we always suspected: a shameless, clueless, pandering toady who'd do or say anything to protect his lord and master, Dotard.
Democrats on the House Judiciary committee pointed to the reprobate's use of federal law enforcement to clear peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square, Washington D.C. last month. This was so Trump could stage a photo op with a bible so toady Barr ordered a harsh crackdown using pepper spray, flash bangs and non-lethal projectiles The same weaponry being used on protesters in Portland, Oregon.
Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler was blunt in describing to Barr what Trump was up to:
“The president wants footage for his campaign ads, and you appear to be serving it up to him as ordered,”
"You use pepper spray and truncheons on American citizens. You did it here in Washington. You did it in Lafayette Square. You expanded to Portland. Now you are projecting fear and violence nationwide in pursuit of obvious political objectives. Shame on you, Mr Barr. Shame on you.”
Eliciting a question as I watched: How do you shame a Toad?
Barr, of course, denied the interventions were motivated by Trump’s re-election:
“I just reject the idea that the department has flooded anywhere and attempted to suppress demonstrators. The fact of the matter is, if you take Portland, the courthouse is under attack.The federal resources are inside the perimeter, around the courthouse defending it from almost two months of daily attacks where people march to the court, try to gain entrance and have set fires, thrown things, used explosives and injured police, including just this past weekend, perhaps permanently blinding three federal officers with lasers.”
But Rep. Pramila Jayapal wasn't having any of the toad's B.S., e.g.
“You take an aggressive approach to Black Lives Matter protests but not to armed right wing extremists' threats to lynch and behead a governor if it's for the president's benefit."
Pointing out bluntly that he went after the D.C. and Portland protesters because they are affiliated with Black Lives Matter, while he left the armed white nationalist, extremist protesters in Michigan alone- even when they invaded a state capitol building, e.g.
The implication was clear: Barr and Trump are invested in protecting the Right's domestic terrorists and radical extremists (like the "Proud Boys" and Boogaloo Bois) who side with Trump, e.g.
But not the innocent, peaceful BLM protesters whose ranks have been infiltrated by Agent provocateurs on the Right- who then use violence to impugn the protests as "violent".. Barr actually responded:
“We are on the defensive. We’re not out looking for trouble"
Defensive, baloney! Of course he wants 'trouble' lots of it. Enough to incite images in protests that can be integrated into Trump campaign rally ads in the fall. All to pump up the "law and order" theme and meme which is the only card Trump has left to play given his total fuck up in the pandemic response. All of which justified Jerrold Nadler's harsh assessment of Barr's M.O in his opening remarks, e.g.
“The message these actions send is clear: in this justice department, the president’s enemies will be punished and his friends will be protected, no matter the cost,”
And then there was the histrionic Reich buffoon Jim Jordan, a close Trump ally and serial bootlicker. He chimed in his 0.02, echoing a Reich conspiracy claim that's been repeatedly debunked:
“Spying. That one word. That’s why they’re after you, Mr Attorney General!”
No, they're after Barr because he deliberately misrepresented the Mueller Report, then went on to undermine the DOJ's cases against Trump's co-conspirators in the Russian plot - including Michael Flynn and Roger Stone,
Jordan, now on a tear, also said Barr has spoken “the truth” that Barack Obama’s administration spied on the Trump campaign, a claim that has repeatedly been debunked.
He then proceeded to play a selectively edited video for nearly eight minutes which showed TV hosts and Obama saying the words “peaceful protests”, then cut to the grieving family of David Dorn, an African American retired police captain killed last month in St Louis, Missouri, then to undated, un-located footage of people jumping on cars, buildings ablaze, an injured officer, a looted shop and people yanking and chainsawing a fence.
The clips echoed talking points by Trump and conservative media, but they glaringly showed how the Right has almost uniformly become Trump's enablers and accessory traitors.
In his own opening statement, Barr acknowledged that “the horrible killing” of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis saying it “jarred the whole country”. But then he insisted police forces were more diverse than "ever before". Which statistics show is not true. Well, check that- unless your reference point is the Jim Crow era of the 1950s.
Barr added in his typical disingenuous style:
“Unfortunately, some have chosen to respond to George Floyd’s death in a far less productive way – by demonizing the police … and making grossly irresponsible proposals to defund the police … Violent rioters and anarchists have hijacked legitimate protests to wreak senseless havoc and destruction on innocent victims.”
Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas questioned Barr on whether he considered the killing of Floyd to be indicative of a systemic problem in policing. He said:
“I don’t agree there is systemic racism in police departments generally in this country.”
Again resorting to a semantic ploy, given the systemic racism typically resides in police unions.
Barr then faced hard-hitting questions for pushing for a more lenient prison sentence for Trump’s ally Roger Stone, convicted of witness tampering and making false statements, a move which prompted the entire trial team’s departure. Trump eventually commuted Stone’s sentence, sparing him prison..
Barr said in reply: “Stone was prosecuted under me. I said all along I thought that was a righteous prosecution. I thought he should go to jail.”
Yep, but he then insisted the original sentence was far too harsh for an "esoteric" crime, as opposed to say a "meat and potatoes" crime. E.g.(WSJ, today, p. A1):
"Let me ask you, do you think it is fair for a 67-year old man to be sent to prison for seven to nine years?"
Forgetting that Bernie Madoff - at age 71 years - was sentenced to 150 years for his esoteric crime of using a Ponzi scheme to bilk his investors out of millions. But in Barr's reckoning all tax cheats as well as the college scandal cheats (and presumably Madoff), merited only relative wrist slaps because their crimes were "esoteric". As opposed to say, out and out armed robbery.
But he cleverly parsed the difference this way:
“I agree that the president’s friends don’t deserve special breaks but they also don’t deserve to be treated more harshly than other people and sometimes that’s a difficult decision to make, especially when you know you’re going to be castigated for it.”
Please, Barr, spare us the fake rectitude. You merely show even more why you need to be impeached like your master, Dotard.
Hopefully, the House will do this sooner rather than later. Especially given how Barr has essentially destroyed any trust in the rule of law- and equal treatment - in this nation.
by Heather Cox Richardson | July 30, 2020 - 6:38am | permalink