Bill Barr won a reprieve from the Democrats’ rolling inquisition of his tenure as attorney general thanks to the coronavirus.
Barr had been scheduled for a grilling on his handling of Justice Department matters ranging from the Mueller report (yes, really) to Roger Stone’s sentencing, but those plans have been scrambled by the pandemic, The Hill reported. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) announced the delay on Twitter Monday, writing: “Due to overwhelming health and safety concerns, the [Judiciary Committee] will postpone our March 31st oversight hearing with Attorney General Barr. DOJ has made a commitment to rescheduling the hearing for when the crisis abates and the Committee is able to reconvene.”
Barr hearing delayed over coronavirus
The hearing was scheduled in the aftermath of Trump’s impeachment trial, as controversy raged over the decision by Barr’s department to seek a lighter punishment for Stone, a confidante of Donald Trump who was sentenced to prison for obstruction. Democrats at the time said that Barr should resign — a threat leveled more than once against the attorney general — for putting his loyalty to Trump over his commitment to the Constitution.
The endlessly embattled attorney general has routinely faced that kind of innuendo from Democrats, who have maligned him as the president’s personal henchman ever since he rose to the office last year. Barr was set to discuss a number of subjects touching on the claim that he has politicized the Justice Department for Trump’s gain — a topic on which Democrats, presumably, have their minds made up already.
If it can be believed, Nadler’s panel hoped to question Barr about the Mueller investigation, which found last year that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Democrats have accused Barr of somehow covering up Mueller’s real findings in a summary of his report.
Democrats also wanted to learn more about U.S. Attorney John Durham’s probe of Russiagate and other matters, according to the Washington Examiner. Liberals have panned Durham’s probe as an illegitimate effort to undermine Mueller’s investigation.
Nadler had sought Barr’s testimony last spring, as the media cooked up a storm of controversy over Barr’s handling of the Mueller report, but Barr refused to appear, citing the unfair conditions the committee chairman placed on the proceeding, the Washington Times notes. The Justice Department told Politico that Barr has, however, agreed to reschedule this time around.
#Resistance holiday? Not quite
The hearing was originally planned back in February, in the aftermath of Trump’s impeachment trial and weeks before coronavirus consumed the public’s attention and rendered any remnants of #Resistance melodrama irrelevant. However, the coronavirus was spreading at the time, but the media establishment was simply preoccupied with impeachment, as some conservative commentators have noted.
With the spread of the pandemic has come an unnatural pause — not just to normal life for millions of Americans, but much of the familiar Trump-era #Resistance politics, with its endless Democrat-led investigations, hearings, and inquiries. However, Democrats and the media have continued to malign Trump over his management of the coronavirus crisis, and #Resistance narratives continue to echo in media gossip about a supposed rift between Trump and his top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The coronavirus is doing what seemingly nothing else could, namely, it is bringing an end – at least temporarily — to the Democrats’ restless witch hunt of Barr. But in a sign of nonsense to come, a group of lawyers penned yet another open letter calling for Barr to resign, even in the midst of the pandemic. Barr is leading a Justice Department effort to crack down on price gougers, hoarders, and others taking advantage of the public health crisis, Fox News reports.
Barr’s complaints back in February that Trump’s tweets were making it “impossible” for him to do his job led to speculation that he might quit. But the attorney general seemed to be in good spirits during an appearance at a press conference with Trump and his coronavirus task force on Monday.
As Dr. Deborah Birx discussed taking responsible actions to fight the virus, Trump jokingly pretended to walk away in disgust as she mentioned having a low-grade fever, prompting Barr to crack a smile.