But of course the entire investigation into the Trump campaign ties to Russia is part of what Barr is in the attorney general job to undo. As Barr puts it, he’s doing “everything I could to get to the bottom of the grave abuses involved in the bogus ‘Russiagate’ scandal,” and it’s just those partisan Democrats that have a problem with it, for partisan reasons.
House Judiciary Committee Democrats will certainly have questions for him about that, while Republicans will want to hear about his counter-investigation clearly aimed at discrediting all previous Russia investigations (presumably in time for November’s elections). But since Barr was originally called to testify in March, the world has changed yet again, and part of the hearing will also focus on the Justice Department and Barr’s part in the Trump administration’s abusive, violent response to protests over the police killing of George Floyd and the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests.
Barr will have a lot to say in his opening statement about how terrible and violent the protesters in Portland—you know, the ones being swept up into unmarked vans by unbadged, militarized federal thugs—have been, but he won’t have much to say about his part in the brutal clearing of Lafayette Square in June so that Trump could have a photo op in front of a church. That omission is one for committee Democrats to rectify.
And Barr will attempt to undermine concerns about police brutality and racism by blaming crime on anger about police brutality and racism and by pretending concern that “The leading cause of death for young black males is homicide. Every year approximately 7,500 black Americans are victims of homicide, and the vast majority of them—around 90 percent—are killed by other blacks, mainly by gunfire.” This is a classic argument from people trying to diminish the importance of the fight against state violence and oppression of Black people. It usually comes from people who don’t show an awful lot of concern for Black life in general, except as a way to score points, and it’s usually a terrible argument, as Michael Harriot and Victoria M. Massie have explained in detail.
The questions Barr will likely face don’t stop at his fealty to Donald Trump and his part in the vicious suppression of protest, either. The Washington Post suggests that Democrats are likely to ask him about his “misleading statements” on Trump’s attacks on vote by mail, as well as his own failure to enforce voting rights laws. It’s going to be a day filled with William Barr lying about a lot of subjects, in other words.