Investigation into AG Barr’s alleged interference sparks partisan tensions

Attorney General William "Bill" Barr. Yuri Gripas/Reuters

In an oversight hearing on Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee assessed the allegations that Attorney General William Barr engaged in political interference and prosecutorial independence. Congress heard evidence as to whether AG Barr held “politics over the law.”

Witnesses included Donald Ayer, Former Deputy Attorney General under George H.W. Bush, and two Justice Department attorneys, John Elias and Aaron Zelinsky.

Michael Mukasey, the 81st Attorney General under George W. Bush also bore witness to the other side of the argument, serving as a kind of character witness to AG Barr.

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Partisan skirmishes

The hearing began with a significant parliamentary skirmish where one congressman made a point of order, refusing to accept the Chair’s decision to allow the witnesses to testify using video conferencing software. Discussions remained heated with accusations of bias on both sides.

Ayer did not mince words, listing AG Barr’s perceived political interferences including the removal of several justices. He cites Barr’s propensity to use criminal investigations to “produce fodder for [the] President’s Propaganda mill.”