William Barr defends federal deployments to break up protests in a tense session

Attorney General William Barr clashed with Democrats in Congress on Tuesday in a session in which he rejected accusations that he was politically strengthening President Trump on a number of fronts, including by deploying federal agents in response to protests and his personal involvement in criminal cases involving the president's allies.

In his first appearance in Congress in more than a year, Mr. Barr said that the federal response was necessary to counter violent protesters and fight crime in cities as local officials did little to preserve their federal streets and property.

“What happens at night around the courtroom cannot be considered a reasonable protest; Mr. Barr said during the tense Judicial Committee session in the House of Representatives:“ It is, by any objective measure, an assault on the United States government. ”He was referring to clashes in Portland, Uri.

Democrats disputed this description. "State and local leaders in Oregon have asked" to leave the federal forces because the reaction was actually counterproductive, said Rep. Zoe Lovgreen (D., California). "People appear because the forces are there, and I would say that most of them are peaceful. So this brutality has created more demonstrators."

Portland protests have become the latest flashpoint in demonstrations across the country over police brutality and systemic racism since May Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis police in May. These recent protests have been the subject of several questions from lawmakers, as well as the forced removal of demonstrators near the White House in early June, as officers used smoke bombs and other ammunition after Mr. Barr ordered them to clear the area before the appearance of the master. Trump.

The prosecutor said that the protesters had grown wildly and began throwing things at law enforcement officers in Lafayette Square in Washington, DC, Major Adam de Marco, who was there, testified on Tuesday in a separate session of the House of Representatives that officers violently purified the park without provocation.

Mr. Barr occasionally appeared as a spectator amid partisan rivalries at the nearly five-hour hearing that provided a preview of the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

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