- Attorney General William Barr testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday in a contentious and aggressive hearing.
- Barr testified about his oversight of law enforcement’s crackdown on largely peaceful demonstrations across the nation, as well as his handling of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
- The hearing was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET but was delayed because committee chairman Jerry Nadler was involved in a car accident on his way to Washington, DC. A spokesperson said Nadler was not hurt.
- Scroll down to follow Business Insider’s live coverage and key updates from the hearing.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Attorney General William Barr testified Tuesday on Capitol Hill Tuesday about his oversight of law enforcement’s crackdown on anti-racism protests across the nation, as well as his handling of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Barr is a political lightning rod and has taken center stage as one of President Donald Trump’s most loyal defenders since taking office early last year. He was scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee beginning at 10 a.m. ET, but the hearing was delayed after committee chairman Jerry Nadler was involved in a car accident on his way to Washington, DC, on Tuesday morning. Nadler’s spokesperson said the New York congressman was not hurt in the accident.
In his opening statement, the attorney general addressed allegations that he functions more as the president’s personal defense lawyer instead of the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.
“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 said. “Judging from the letter inviting me to this hearing, that appears to be your agenda today.”
Tuesday was the first time Barr testified before the judiciary committee. Under the leadership of Chairman Jerry Nadler, the panel has taken point on investigating the White House and Trump over what Democrats characterize as abuse of power, and it played a critical role in his impeachment last year. Republicans on the committee, meanwhile, accuse their colleagues across the aisle of using their power to harass and distract the president.
Barr told lawmakers on Tuesday that Trump “has not attempted to interfere” in any of the decisions he’s made related to the Russia probe.
“My decisions on criminal matters have been left to my independent judgment, based on the law and fact, without any direction or interference from the White House or anyone outside the Department,” the attorney general testified.
He also addressed the forceful crackdown by federal law enforcement agents on what have largely been peaceful protests following the Memorial Day death of 46-year-old George Floyd.
The attorney general called the push by left-wing activists to defund the police “grossly irresponsible.” He also said that while Floyd’s death in police custody was “horrible” and has “jarred the whole country,” there is no “deep-seated racism” within the US law enforcement apparatus.
Scroll down for key updates from the hearing:
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