Democratic attorneys criticize House Judiciary Democrats’ questioning of Barr

Democratic attorneys criticized Democratic lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee over their questioning of Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday, opining that they could have been more effective and pointed with the nation’s top lawyer. 

“Ineffective opening line of questioning by [Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.)],” Daniel Goldman, who served as the majority counsel during the House impeachment inquiry against President Trump, tweeted. 

Goldman continued in another tweet, saying that the Democrats on the committee “would be better off asking shorter, very specific questions. Don’t be afraid of Barr’s answers. And be ready to follow up to make a narrow point.”

Preet Bharara, the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, called the hearing “disappointing,” adding that it was only “getting worse” as time went by. 

Democrats called Barr to testify in front of the committee on Tuesday to press him on the politicization of the Justice Department (DOJ) following federal use of force during “Black Lives Matter” protests, the decision made by the Trump administration to commute the sentence of Trump associate Roger Stone and the firing of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman of the Southern District of New York. 

Berman was leading several investigations into Trump associates, including his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. 

Many of the Democrats used their five-minute allotment of time to make statements about the recent Department of Justice-related happenings, including the recent deployment of federal law enforcement to intervene in the protests in Portland, Ore.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) asked Barr if he believed that systemic racism was prevalent among the country’s law enforcement.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) questioned Barr on the unequal treatment of Black Americans by police officers, citing Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who was walking home when he was stopped by police, restrained and then injected with ketamine by paramedics in an attempt to calm him. McClain went into cardiac arrest and later died at the hospital.

However, the questioning from Democrats regarding the sentencing of Stone and former national security adviser Michael Flynn was sporadic and at times hard to follow.

Under Barr, DOJ sought to reduce Stone’s sentence and dropped charges against Flynn, who had already been convicted of lying to the FBI. Stone’s sentence was commuted by the president earlier in the month.

Tags DOJ Donald Trump House Judiciary Committee House Judiciary Committee Jerrold Nadler Jerry Nadler Karen Bass lawyers Preet Bharara Roger Stone Rudy Giuliani Sheila Jackson Lee Trump administration William Barr
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