Attorney General William Barr responded to questions before the House Judiciary Committee about the Trump administration’s actions in the Portland, Oregon, riots, and asserted the legality of protecting federal assets.
Barr was besieged for hours on July 28 by questions to which he responded with the authority of his position, and he raised with Democrats the key situation that required sending in federal agents after the siege by protesters of the federal courthouse in Portland, which they are continually trying to destroy, according to The Western Journal.
However, Barr mentioned the U.S. courthouse, E. Barrett Prettyman, home of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, using it as an example of the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse in Portland, which antifa and other leftists are trying to burn down.
In fact in answer to a question by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) Barr said Courthouses in the United States are “the heart of federal property, we have the obligation to protect federal courts, and the U.S. Marshals specifically have been given that obligation.”
“If someone walked down the street to the Prettyman Courthouse, that beautiful courthouse we have at the bottom of the hill and started breaking windows and shooting industrial fireworks to start a fire, throwing balloons with combustibles and starting fires in the courthouse, would that be okay?” Barr asked of the committee, rightly explaining why federal agents were sent to protect the Portland courthouse.
“The U.S. Marshals have a duty to stop that and defend the court, and that’s what we’re doing in Portland,” Barr said after answering the question himself.
Attorney General William Barr: "Federal courts are under attack. Since when is it okay to burn down a federal court? … Is that okay? Is that okay now?" pic.twitter.com/WRunuGBaFK
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) July 28, 2020
Much of the debate revolves around the protests and the reasons why the Trump administration sent federal agents to control the situation. The area was overwhelmed by violence and destruction against people and state property because of the attack on protesters and the inaction of local authorities to protect them.
“As crazy and meaningless as the Democrats sometimes seem, there is no one in elected office who is trying to stand up and explain to American voters why it is okay for the proletariat in Portland to continually attack and try to destroy a federal courthouse paid for with U.S. taxpayer dollars, forcing it to be protected by federal agents paid for with taxpayer dollars as well,” argued journalist Joe Saunders of The Western Journal.
The protesters and Democrats are critical of the intervention of federal agents, who are assisting in the line of duty. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) herself called the federal agents “storm troopers,” which Barr also referred to.
Barr said it was “irresponsible” for Pelosi to try to “storm troop” those who assisted in enforcing federal law in Portland and controlling the riots. He said Pelosi’s comments could endanger the officers, according to Politico.
The House Judiciary Committee session was chaired by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who has a history of personal and professional confrontations with President Donald Trump.
Barr has been unflinching in his own defense and that of the president in calling in federal agents to protect government property and Tuesday’s grilling was no exception.