Barr to come out swinging in House testimony, decrying senseless violence and Russia probe abuses
"To tacitly condone destruction and anarchy is to abandon the basic rule-of-law principles," the attorney general says in prepared testimony slamming liberal mayors.
Attorney General Bill Barr is planning a full-throated defense of his work inside the Justice Department and that of police nationwide when appearing before hostile House Democrats on Wednesday, condemning both the "bogus Russiagate scandal" and the senseless violence rocking U.S. cities.
In prepared testimony released Monday evening on the eve of his House Judiciary Committee testimony, Barr declared that liberal activists' "demonization of police is not only unfair and inconsistent with the principle that all people should be treated as individuals, but gravely injurious to our inner city communities."
"When a community turns on and pillories its own police, officers naturally become more risk averse and crime rates soar," his prepared testimony states. "Unfortunately, we are seeing that now in many of our major cities. This is a critical problem that exists apart from disagreements on other issues. The threat to black lives posed by crime on the streets is massively greater than any threat posed by police misconduct.
The attorney general also lambastes liberal mayors for allowing serial violence to persist in their cities since George Floyd's killing in Minneapolis and supporting efforts to undercut police department authorities and funding.
"Unfortunately, some have chosen to respond to George Floyd’s death in a far less productive way — by demonizing the police, promoting slogans like ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards), and making grossly irresponsible proposals to defund the police," he plans to tell lawmakers.
Later he adds, "To tacitly condone destruction and anarchy is to abandon the basic rule-of-law principles that should unite us even in a politically divisive time."
Barr also directly challenges Democrats' claims he has been a lapdog for Trump, declaring the president has not interfered in his decisions.
"My decisions on criminal matters before the Department have been my own, and they have been made because I believed they were right under the law and principles of justice," he said.
Barr suggested Democrats' criticisms may be aimed at undercutting his efforts to investigate abuses in the now-discredited FBI investigation of Trump-Russia collusion.
"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 set to testify. "Judging from the letter inviting me to this hearing, that appears to be your agenda today."
The attorney general said his desire to get to the bottom of the Russia probe abuses was not driven by pressure from Trump but rather by his own view the investigators engaged in misconduct.
"As an outsider I became deeply troubled by what I perceived as the increasing use of the criminal justice process as a political weapon and the emergence of two separate standards of justice," he explained. "The Department had been drawn into the political maelstrom and was being buffeted on all sides. 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 one standard of justice for everyone and enforcing the law even-handedly, without partisan considerations. Since returning to the Department, I have done precisely that."
You can read Barr's full prepared testimony here.