Well ain’t it grand? AG William Barr was finally able to testify to the House Judiciary Committee. The event has been on hold since March due to the COVID 19 measures. The Daily Beast story “AG Barr Calls Black Lives Matter Protests in Portland ‘an Assault’ on U.S. Government in Testy Hearing” covers the hearing.
The members of the committee questioned the Attorney General’s actions since the protests began. The gist of the questioning seems to ask; is this political maneuvering? Barr didn’t answer but I can for him; of course it is.
This is an election year and the protests are a polarizing event. Using any polarizing event in a political sense means appealing to your base. Trump’s base is the conservative right. Moving federal agents into mostly liberal cities in a show of force appeals to that base. As pointed out during questioning, “You are aware of certain kinds of protesters, but in Michigan when protesters carried guns and Confederate flags and called for the governor of Michigan to be shot and lynched, somehow you are not aware of that, somehow you didn’t know about it, so you didn’t send federal agents in to do to the president’s supporters what you did to the president’s protesters,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).
William Barr serves his masters well. He has risked his position and legitimacy by dropping charges against Trump allies and going after those he deems potential Trump adversaries. Putting on a show at mostly peaceful Black Lives Matter protests is just a political maneuver. The federal officers are ineffective at stopping the protests. Their presence has contributed to an amplification of the demonstrations and will quite possibly extend the time they will continue. But hey, that’s politics. I guess Barr feels Trump’s base likes seeing hippies getting knocked off their bicycles and freedom of speech trampled.