Senate

Hirono rebukes Barr during hearing: ‘You should resign’

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) on Wednesday excoriated Attorney General William Barr during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, accusing the country’s top law enforcement official of sacrificing his reputation in service to President Trump.

Hirono accused Barr of lying to lawmakers, compared him to Trump’s closest allies and told the attorney general: “You should resign.”

“Mr. Barr, now the American people know that you are no different from Rudy Giuliani or Kellyanne Conway or any of other people who sacrifice their once decent reputation for the grifter and liar who sits in the Oval Office,” Hirono said.

She spent the bulk of her time for questioning delivering a searing monologue in which she blasted Barr over his handling of the Russia investigation, including a memo he sent to the special counsel about the investigation prior to serving as attorney general, and his four-page summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.{mosads}

Barr’s testimony comes amid scrutiny from Democrats of his handling of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. On Tuesday, a Justice Department spokeswoman said that Mueller had expressed “frustration” to Barr in March over Barr’s four-page memo describing the investigation’s findings.

Hirono accused Barr of lying to lawmakers when he said he was unaware of Mueller’s concerns with the attorney general’s four-page summary of the investigation. 

“You used every advantage of your office to create the impression that the president was cleared of misconduct,” Hirono said. “You put the power and authority of the office of the attorney general and the Department of Justice behind a public relations effort to help Donald Trump protect himself.”

She added that she “wasn’t surprised” by what she described as Barr’s efforts to protect the president, and said that was the reason she joined other Democrats in voting against his confirmation. 

“Now we know more about your deep involvement in trying to cover up for Donald Trump,” Hirono said Wednesday. “Being attorney general … is a sacred trust. You have betrayed that trust, America deserves better. You should resign.”

Hirono went on to press Barr on whether he believes it’s “OK” for the president to act as he did in episodes detailed in the Mueller report. The report listed 10 “episodes” that Mueller’s team examined for possible obstruction of justice.

As Hirono continued tearing into Barr, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) stepped in to cut off the senator’s questioning.

“You’ve slandered this man,” Graham said.

“I do not think I am slandering anyone,” Hirono replied.

“I gave you seven minutes and you slandered this man from top to bottom,” Graham interjected forcefully. “If you want more of this you’re not going to get it. If you want to ask him questions you can.”

“You certainly have your opinion and I have mine,” Hirono responded as Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) began her line of questioning.

Hirono has emerged as one of the Trump administration’s most outspoken critics, and was one of the most forceful questioners during the Judiciary Committee’s hearing last year with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual misconduct.

Senate