WASHINGTON — Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told Yahoo News on Wednesday that he believes Attorney General William Barr should be disbarred for the role he has played in helping the president crack down on protesters outraged by the police killing of George Floyd.
Raskin called Barr President Trump’s “consigliere” and faulted him for abetting the president as he has promoted a military-style response to the civil disturbances in the aftermath of the Floyd killing and renewed attention to police violence against unarmed African-Americans.
“Donald Trump finally emerged from the bunker and figured he wasn’t too scared to walk across the street to pick up a Bible he’d never opened a day in his life and wave it over his head,” Raskin said in an interview with Yahoo News’ “Skullduggery” podcast. “All of that was concocted and choreographed by William Barr, [who] in a better world would be disbarred for his repeated attacks on the rule of law and on the Constitution.”
Raskin, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said the administration’s use of the military to forcibly disperse protesters in Washington violated multiple constitutional rights, including the right to peaceably assemble, the right to redress of grievances and freedom of speech.
“The republic hangs by a thread,” Raskin said.
He called Monday night’s events — when Barr ordered the Park Police to use flash-bangs and smoke canisters to disperse protesters just blocks from the White House — “a breaking point for millions of people across the country to see that we have got somebody in office that can act just like just an old-fashioned tin-pot dictator and use the military to crush dissent [and] move people out of the street as they exercise their constitutional right.”
Raskin reserved special contempt for Barr, whom he called a hypocrite for supporting the rights of armed militiamen to walk into Michigan’s statehouse last month.
“He’s a political hack,” Raskin said of the attorney general. “He has no respect or love for our Constitution or the things that define our country. The irony, of course, is that a week or two before, he was posing as a great defender of the Constitution against the governors and mayors who have public health orders. That was too much for him, so there he was egging on the right wing who were showing up as armed militiamen protesters, like at the Michigan Capitol, and saying, ‘These people are just exercising their civil rights.’”
Raskin said that despite publicly pledging to testify before the House Judiciary Committee — Congress wants to hear from Barr on special counsel Robert Mueller’s objections to his characterization of the Mueller report, among other things — the attorney general has dodged repeated scheduling requests.
“Every time, there is a reason he can’t come,” Raskin said. “He’s demonstrated he’s not serious about coming before the House Judiciary Committee.”
Download or subscribe on iTunes: “Skullduggery” from Yahoo News