‘The Lord’s Work’: House Republicans Unite Behind Bill Barr Amid Corruption Claims

Doug Mills / Getty
It would be difficult for any attorney general to resist a deputy attorney general from the same party who described him as "the greatest threat in my life to our rule of law". It would be even more difficult to resist statements by two Acting Justice Department prosecutors regarding his subordination of the judiciary to the President's wishes in Congress. But Bill Barr had a fantastic day in Congress on Wednesday.
That's not because neither the official cartel prosecutor John Elias nor Roger Stone's former prosecutor, Aaron Zelinsky, had unraveled their stories. That's because the Republicans on the House Justice Committee were enthusiastic about Barr. And that is also because, thanks to the deep reluctance of their own leadership to get into another impeachment struggle, the Democrats have offered little beyond harsh insults.
When Elias and Zelinsky testified about inadequate antitrust investigations or leniency shown to the president's convicted friends, the panel's Republicans applauded the attorney general as the deep-state hunter to include Donald Trump. Either that, or they went to Elias, Zelinsky, or former George H.W. Bush's assistant attorney general, Donald Ayer, went far beyond insulting Barr as a kind of unconstitutional official.
Bill Barr gives House Dems an extended middle finger and they are not quite sure how to react
"Bill Barr is trying to do the Lord's job to clean it up so it won't happen again," said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the lead GOPer on the panel after he re-portrayed the 2016-19 investigation had from Trump as a witch hunt by Obama cronies.
Jordan set the tone. Barr, with his "exemplary record", "Restoring Integrity" within the department, said Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH). The hearing was a "farce," said Mike Johnson (R-LA). The Democrats stabbed Barr for "trying to clear and fix the previous government's mess." Most threateningly, Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) told the three witnesses that "history will not judge you in the coming days ... whether we can continue this experiment on our own or not." A spokesman did not answer the question of whether Gohmert believes the American Republic is at risk of collapse.
It was Barr's most square defense so far against Hill Republicans. Your support for Trump after the Russia Gate and impeachment is mandatory at this time. But on Wednesday, they went beyond loyalty to Trump to portray Barr as the one who wanted to drain the swamp.
They did so days after perhaps the lowest point in Barr's short term. On Friday, Barr lied that the US lawyer had resigned in New York, resulting in a stalemate over the weekend for displacing Geoffrey Berman before Barr partially retired. It remains unclear whether Barr himself will testify before the house committee, but he knows that if he does, he will have a GOP firewall.
In contrast, the Democrats had rhetoric. Barr does not want to charge her leadership. Your caucus is split internally about what to do with it. Her answer, which often overshadowed her focus on the substance of Elias and Zelinsky's testimony, was to insult Barr. The chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) called him Trump's "fixer". MP Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) described the Department of Justice's politicization as "worse than Watergate, worse than Nixon". Regarding Barr's violent repression of the June 1 protest in Lafayette Square, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) said that President's friends will receive pardons and shorten prison time, but "if you peacefully protest against brutality, you will be under." Gassed tears. "
But despite portraying Barr as legal vandalism, only one of them supported removing him from office. "We should pursue Bill Barr's impeachment," said Steve Cohen (D-TN), "because it rains terror against the rule of law."
In the midst of the rhetoric, the prosecutors of the Ministry of Justice, Zelinsky and Elias, occasionally had to testify. Elias from the cartel department told the panel that his office was under pressure to merge cannabis companies, sometimes not among competitors, because Barr considers marijuana indecent. He continued to report on division officials who urged them to investigate California's auto emissions deal with automakers after Trump tweeted negative about "Californian regulators."
Bill Barr has cake on his face and another trick up his sleeve with John Durham's October surprise
Zelinsky, more famous, was a prosecutor for Russiagate Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who successfully sentenced Trump consigliere Stone before a Barr ally intervened to give the president's friend a mild recommendation. Both Zelinsky and Elias opened up to reprisals by saying that Trump cleaned up the administration of numerous annoying witnesses and inspectors after the impeachment.
Republicans were not interested in their testimony. They tried to derail the hearing because Zelinsky testified remotely - something he explained was to protect his newborn baby from COVID-19.
They later thought it was a good opportunity to have one of Mueller's "cheerful gangs of Never Trumpers," as Pennsylvania republican Guy Reschenthaler said. Instead, Zelinsky answered questions by arguing that the Justice Department prevented him from saying anything about Müller beyond his 2019 results. Jordan repeated impeachment tactics, saying that because he hadn't spoken to Barr, Zelinsky had no basis to say that the Department of Justice had something political about his team of prosecutors to spare Stone. (Florida MP Matt Gaetz even went so far as to predict: "Roger Stone will be pardoned.") Elias was portrayed as a democratic hack because it was presented in detail to the White House Obama and sought a job to House Democrats in early 2019, claiming that they are excited to indict Trump.
Donald Ayer, the Barr as Assistant Attorney General at George H.W. The Bush administration had no inside knowledge of Barr's attorney general. Instead, Ayer urged the committee to "distrust everything he said," from his actions to suppress protests against white dominance to "Obamagate nonsense spewed out by the president," and washed himself in John Durham's investigation about the origins of Russiagate. While Barr Durham publicly describes ongoing investigations - to the point where the attorney general points out upcoming law enforcement measures - "nobody is able to say that he is wrong, but he is wrong," said Ayer.
"Honestly," Ayer continued, "my concern is that as we approach the elections, he will do it more and more in the coming weeks and months." With the Republicans lining up behind Barr and the Democrats confused about what they will do, Ayer's worries are unlikely to subside.
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