In a tense back-and-forth, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) pressed Attorney General William Barr about whether the attorney general has discussed President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign with the president or with his campaign or any surrogate.
Nadler asked during Tuesday’s hearing, “Have you discussed the president’s re-election campaign with the president, or with any White House official or with any surrogate of the president?”
Barr declined to get into his conversations with Trump, adding “I’m a member of the cabinet and there’s an election going on. Obviously the topic comes up.”
Nadler also asked whether if he has discussed “the current or future deployment of federal law enforcement.”
Barr responded, “I’m not going to get into my discussions with the president. But I’ve made it clear that I would like to pick the cities based on law enforcement need and based on neutral criteria.”
Watch the exchange below:
Barr is already having issues with the first set of questions from Nadler. It all snowballs when Nadler asks Barr if he’s discussed re-election with the President pic.twitter.com/U2TDnEPBP9— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) July 28, 2020
Trump has been ramping up his criticisms of cities like Portland and Seattle where protests have sometimes turned into violent confrontations between law enforcement and protesters.
After a spike in gun violence in Chicago, Trump announced, “The FBI, ATF, DEA, U.S Marshall Service, and Homeland Security will together be sending hundreds of skilled law enforcement officers to Chicago to help drive down violent crime.”
Barr and Trump were both criticized after peaceful protesters wear tear-gassed in Lafayette Square, outside the White House, so that the president could have his photo taken at a nearby church.
Even some Republicans have criticized that decision with Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) telling a reporter, “If your question is, should you use tear gas to clear a path so the president can go have a photo-op, the answer is no.”
A National Guard officer has also come forward to condemn the government’s behavior at Lafayette Square, saying in prepared testimony released Monday, “At no time did I feel threatened by the protestors or assess them to be violent.”