WASHINGTON— On Tuesday, July 28, Attorney General William Barr testified before the House Judiciary Committee. The hearing lasted for over five hours. It dealt with the Justice Department’s deployment of federal officers to cities amid protests, the prosecution of two friends of President Donald Trump, and other matters.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from New York, pressed Barr on the federal enforcement of protests. Nadler questioned whether the use of it is a “prop in the president’s reelection campaign.” He claimed that Barr was “projecting fear and violence nationwide in pursuit of obvious political objectives.”

Barr’s efforts to reply to this statement were cut off repeatedly.

He later said: “Rioters and anarchists have hijacked legitimate protests to wreak senseless havoc and destruction on innocent victims… What unfolds nightly around the [Portland] courthouse cannot reasonably be called protests. It is by any objective measure an assault on the government of the United States.”

When asked about racial injustice, Barr said, “I don’t agree that there is systemic racism in police departments generally in this country.”

Democratic Representative Hank Johnson of Georgia then accused bar of aiding Roger Stone and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

“I agree 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,” said Barr. 

Tensions escalated as Johnson and Barr spoke over each other, and shouted at certain points.

“This is a hearing,” Barr said. “I thought I was the one who was supposed to be heard?”

Republican Representative Jim Jordan defended Barr stating: “For months you have tried to get the attorney general to come. He is here. Why don’t you let him speak?… Time after time, you refuse to let the attorney general answer the questions posed to him.”