Jim Jordan & Jerry Nadler questioned Bill Barr at House Judiciary Committee hearing
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July 28, 2020

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On 7/28/2020, Jim Jordan defended Attorney General William Barr, saying Democrats are simply upset that Barr condemned FBI “spying” on President Trump’s 2016 campaign — and played a lengthy video montage that detailed violence at protests across the nation. “Spying. That one word, that’s why they’re after you, Mr. Attorney General,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said in opening remarks before Barr testified. Jordan, attempting to flip the script on Democrats, said, “Chairman [Jerry] Nadler refuses to allow [Justice Department inspector general Michael] Horowitz to come here and testify and answer our questions about the 17 lies the Obama-Biden administration told to the secret court.”

Attorney General William Barr said defunding the police is “extremely dangerous” and stressed law enforcement agencies actually need more resources to address the concerns raised by protesters in Minneapolis. “I’m more concerned that the police be adequately funded today and get more resources. A lot of the things we need to do to address some of the concerns people have about what they saw in Minneapolis are going to take some resources. Some of the training that we have to do,” Barr said.

Jerry Nadler said, “You really can’t hide behind legal fictions this time, Mr. Barr. It’s all out in the open. The president wants footage for his campaign ads, and you appear to be serving it up to him as ordered. In most of these cities, the protests had begun to wind down before you marched in and confronted the protesters. … In this moment, real leadership would entail deescalation … instead, you use pepper spray and truncheons on American citizens. … Shame on you, Mr. Barr.”

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Full Transcript for Jim Jordan

Spying. That one word. That’s why they’re after you, Mr. Attorney General, 15 months ago, April 10th, 2019 in a Senate hearing, you said this sentence, “I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal. Spying on a political campaign is a big deal.” It sure is. And since that day, since that day, when you had the courage to state the truth, they attack you. They’ve been attacking you every sense every day, every week for simply stating the truth that the Obama-Biden administration spied on the Trump campaign. One year ago, New York Times headline said this one year ago, “FBI sent investigator posing as assistant to meet with Trump aide in 2016, the FBI sent a young lady who used the name Azra Turk to meet Papadopoulos in September of 2016.” They sent someone pretending to be someone else to meet a person associated with the Trump campaign.

You know what they call that? You know what they call that? Spying. One month later, October, 2016, they used the dossier to spy on Carter Page, the salacious unverified dossier, Jim Comey’s words, not mine. They took it to the Pfizer Court. Didn’t tell the courts that the Clinton’s paid for it. Didn’t tell the court that the guy who wrote the document, Christopher Steele, had already communicated to the Justice Department, that he was “desperate to stop Trump from getting elected.” And guess what? There were 15 more lies that they told the court. 17 in total they’re outlined by the Inspector General each and every one of them in his 400 page report. But guess what? Chairman [inaudible 00:01:35] refuses to allow Mr. Horowitz to come here and testify and answer our questions about the 17 lies. The Obama-Biden administration told to the secret court, the Obama-Biden DOJ opened the investigation in July.

They use the secret agent lady to spy on Papadopoulos in August. They lied to the Pfizer Court in September, and they did all this without any basis for launching the investigation to begin with. How do we know that? How do we know there was no basis? They told us. Now they didn’t want to tell us, but thanks to Rick Grinnell who released the transcripts of their testimony, we now know there was no basis for them to start the investigation in the first place. Sally Yates, [inaudible 00:02:15], Samantha Power, Susan Rice, here’s what Susan Rice says, “I don’t recall intelligence. I would consider evidence of a conspiracy.” How about James clapper? “I never saw any direct evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election. Say that again, “I never saw evidence that the Trump campaign was conspiring,” and yet they investigate him.

There was never a proper predicate. So why’d they do it? There was no reason to do it. Why’d they do it? They told us that to Peter Strzok, August, 2016 asked, “Is Trump going to win?” What’s his response? Remember this is Peter Strzok, this guy who ran the investigation. “No. No, he’s not. We’ll stop it.” August, Peter Strzok says, “We’ll stop Trump.” September, they spiraled Papadopoulos. October, they use the fake dossier to lie to the court. But guess what happens in November? Guess what happens in November? November 8th, 2016, the American people get in their way, 63 million of them to be exact. Now, everything changes. Now the real focus is, wow, wait a minute, we didn’t stop him. He won. Now, what do they have to do? They have to do the coverup. And who do they have to go after? Who’s target number one in their coverup? The former head of the defense intelligence agency, the guy who’s about to become National Security Advisor to the President of the United States, Michael Flynn.

They can’t have him hanging around because he’ll figure it out. So they decide to go after Michael Flynn, three star general served our country for over three decades. And we know they went after him because they told us that too. Bill Priestap, head of counter-intelligence at the FBI, the day they interview Flynn, January 24th, 2017, his notes say what? “What’s our goal? To get Flynn to lie so we can prosecute him or to get him fired.” Think about what the Obama-Biden, DOJ, what their administration did in the last month, the last month they were in power. January 4th, the agents investigating Flynn want to drop the case. Comey tells him no. January 5th, they have the now famous meeting in the oval office. Obama, Biden, Rice, Comey, all of them are in there. They’re plotting their strategy how they’re going to get Flynn. January 6th, Comey goes up to Trump Tower, briefs President elect Trump on the dossier that they already know is false, just so they can leak it to the press and the press will write the story that they briefed the president on the dossier. And then of course, January 24th, the day they go set up Michael Flynn, set up Michael Flynn in his interview.

Guess what else they did? Guess what else they did between election day and inauguration day? That two months time and guess what else they did? 38 people, 49 times unmasked, Michael Flynn’s name, Comey, Clapper, Brendan, Biden, seven people at the Treasury Department unmasked Michael Flynn’s name for goodness sake. And of course, Flynn resigns on February 13th. Flynn resigns on February 13th, now the cover is complete. Flynn’s gone, everything’s fine they think. Until May 9th, 2017 when president Trump fires Jim Comey. Now they got a problem again. The guy who was going to keep it all quiet, he’s been fired. Now, how do they continue the coverup? Real simple. Jim Comey leaks his memos with the express purpose of getting a special counsel appointed to investigate something they already know is not true. And that’s exactly what happened. We get two years, 19 lawyers, 40 agents, 500 witnesses, 2800 subpoenas, and the 30 million cost to the taxpayer. And they come back with nothing, absolutely nothing.

And so all they got left is to attack the Attorney General, who had the courage to state the truth, right from the get go. The first time he testifies after he’s confirmed. You guys attack him every day, every week. And now you filed articles of impeachment against him. It’s ridiculous. He had the courage to do what no one else would do at the Justice Department. Sally Yates wouldn’t call it spying. Jeff Sessions wouldn’t do it. Rod Rosenstein wouldn’t do it. Chris Ray sure as heck isn’t going to do it.

So Mr. Attorney General, I want to thank you for having the courage to call it what it was spying. I want to thank you for having the courage to say, “We’re going to get the politics out of the Department of Justice that was there in the previous administration.” And maybe most importantly, and we’re going to talk about this in our side [inaudible 00:06:42] questioning. I want to thank you for defending law enforcement, for pointing out what a crazy idea this defund the police policy, whatever you want to call it is. And standing up for the rule of law. And frankly, we have a video we want to show that gets right to this point. Can we play that video, please?
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Full Transcript for Nadler
Jerry Nadler:
Thank you for your testimony. We will now proceed under the five minute rule with questions, and I will recognize myself for five minutes. On July 22nd, you joined the president as he announced the expansion of Operation Legend, a initiative…

Let me start that again. On July 22nd, you joined the president as he announced the expansion of Operation Legend, an initiative to combat violent crime in Kansas City with approximately $61 million in DOJ grants. I am confused, however, as to the purpose of launching Operation Legend at this moment in time. In December of last year, you announced that the department would divert over $70 million in grants to seven US cities under an initiative called Operation Relentless Pursuit, correct?

William Barr: That’s right.

Jerry Nadler: And Operation Relentless Pursuit targeted a familiar list of cities, places like Albuquerque, Baltimore, and Kansas City, correct?

William Barr: Correct.

Jerry Nadler: At the same July 22nd press conference, you initially claimed that over 200 arrests had been made under Operation Legend, correct?

William Barr: Correct.

Jerry Nadler:
But you misspoke?

William Barr:
Correct.

Jerry Nadler:
The US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri later confirmed that only a single arrest had been made under the auspices of Operation Legend, correct?

William Barr:
I don’t know.

Jerry Nadler:
And the 199 other arrests were made under Relentless Pursuit or other programs. Well, that was correct. I think you could be forgiven for being confused. Operation Legend appears to be little more than a repackaging of existing operations in these cities. So why all the drama? Why join the president, the White House to announce a bold new operation that appears to be neither bold nor new? Understandably, Americans are very suspicious of your motives here. There are those who believe you are sending federal law enforcement into these cities, not to combat violent crime, but to help with the president’s reelection efforts. The president has made clear that he wants conflict between protesters and police to be a central theme of his campaign. So let me ask you directly, Mr. Barr. Yes or no. Yes or no. Did you rebrand existing projects under the [inaudible 00:02:21] Legend in order to assist the president in an election year?

William Barr:
I wouldn’t call it-

Jerry Nadler:
Mr. Attorney General, would you agree with me at least on principle that it is improper for the Department of Justice to divert resources and law enforcement personnel in an effort to assist the president’s reelection campaign?

William Barr:
No. Mr. Chairman, in the fall, we did inaugurate an anti-crime initiative because we were concerned about increasing violent crime in a number of cities, and we call that Relentless Pursuit. Unfortunately, COVID intervened and our agents who were detailed for these assignments could not perform the operation. So the operation was squelched by COVID, so we couldn’t complete or make much progress on Relentless Pursuit. However, in the intervening time, we saw violent crime continuing to rise, and a lot of that was triggered by the events after the death of George Floyd. So we did reboot the program after COVID started breaking and we could commit the law enforcement resources to actually accomplish the mission, which is to reduce violent crime. Now I regret that COVID interrupted our law enforcement activities, but it doesn’t obviate the fact that there is serious violent crime in these cities, these police departments and mayors have been asking us for help, and we have put in additional federal agents and investigators to help deal with it.

Jerry Nadler:
Now, yes or no, have you discussed the president’s reelection campaign with the president, or with any White House official, or any surrogate of the president?

William Barr:
Well I’m not going to get into my discussions with the president.

Jerry Nadler:
Have you discussed that topic with him, yes or no?

William Barr:
Not in relation to this program.

Jerry Nadler:
I didn’t ask that. I asked if you discussed that-

William Barr:
I’m a member of the Cabinet and there’s an election going on. Obviously the topic comes up.

Jerry Nadler:
So the answer’s yes. The answer’s yes.

William Barr:
Well, the topic comes up in Cabinet meetings and other things.

Jerry Nadler:
Okay, [crosstalk 00:04:29].

William Barr:
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the topic of the election comes up.

Jerry Nadler:
I didn’t say I was surprised. I just asked if you’d done that. So as part of those conversations with the president or his people about the reelection campaign, have you ever discussed the current or future deployment of federal law enforcement?

William Barr:
In connection with what?

Jerry Nadler:
In connection with what you just said, in connection with your discussions with the president or with other people around him of his reelection campaign, have you discussed the current or future deployment of federal law enforcement?

William Barr:
Well, as I say, 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.

Jerry Nadler:
But you can’t tell me whether you discussed-

William Barr:
No, I’m not going to discuss what I discussed with the president.

Jerry Nadler:
Can you commit today that the department will not use federal law enforcement as a prop in the president’s reelection campaign?

William Barr:
We are not using federal law enforcement-

Jerry Nadler:
I just want to close with this thought. You really can’t hide behind legal fictions this time, Mr. Barr. It’s all out in the open where the people can see what you are doing for themselves. The president wants footage for his campaign ads, and you appear to be serving it up to him as ordered. In most of these cities, the protests had begun to wind down before you marched in and confronted the protestors. And the protestors aren’t mobs. They are mothers, and veterans, and mayors. In this moment, real leadership would entail deescalation, collaboration, and looking for ways to peaceably resolve our differences. Instead you use pepper spray and truncheons on American citizens. You did it here in Washington. You did it in Lafayette Square. You expanded to Portland. And now you are projecting fear and violence nationwide in pursuit of obvious political objectives. Shame on you, Mr. Barr.

William Barr: )
Can I just say, Mr.-

Jerry Nadler:
Shame on you.

William Barr:
Can I just say, Mr.-

Jerry Nadler:
My time has expired.

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