House Democrats are doing their best to bully and cajole their newest favorite punching bag, Attorney General William Barr, into submitting to their questioning in the exact manner, time, and fashion that they demand. But in a remarkable display of Executive Branch strength, Barr is telling the Democrats that they can either hold their hearings in the way he deems acceptable…or they can pretty much go suck a lemon.
Democrats, who do not actually care one whit about anything Barr has to say about the Mueller investigation, simply want to put Barr at the witness table and beat him up in front of the TV cameras. That’s fine and well – it’s pretty much become the main point of these kinds of congressional hearings – but they don’t even have the guts to do it themselves! No, they want Judiciary Committee staffers to ask the questions instead, and that has turned into a bright red sticking point as far as the Department of Justice is concerned.
“The attorney general agreed to appear before Congress,” said a representative from the DOJ. “Therefore, Congress does the questioning.”
Barr would have likely been more amenable to the way House Democrats wanted to set up the hearing had they not spent the last month assailing his hard-earned reputation at every turn. Burned by the Mueller report and its conclusions, they have gone out of their way to slime Barr’s integrity, insisting that he is somehow twisting the rule of law to protect President Trump. This, despite the fact that they’ve had full access to the Mueller report for weeks now, and there is nothing in it that proves Trump obstructed justice, much less colluded with the Russians. Democrats are in the middle of a full-blown temper tantrum, and they’ve turned Barr into their whipping boy.
House Republicans say it’s reprehensible. In remarks to Fox News, a spokesman for Republicans on the Judiciary Committee said that Democrats were abusing the oversight role.
“What actual precedent is there for our committee making such demands of a sitting attorney general as part of our oversight duties?” asked the spokesman. “The attorney general isn’t a fact witness, and this committee’s investigations—as Democrat leadership reminds us daily—don’t constitute impeachment, so Democrats have yet to prove their demands are anything but abusive and illogical in light of the transparency and good faith the attorney general has shown our committee.”
Democrats are determined, though, to spin the hay of the Mueller report into gold. They just can’t believe how wrong they got it.