The Justice Department’s independent inspector general has announced an investigation into the federal response to demonstrations, including the disputed and violent clearing of protesters from Lafayette Square near the White House last month before a photo opportunity for Mr. Trump in front of a church. The attorney general accompanied the president, and the White House initially said Mr. Barr had ordered the clearance, though he later said he had not given a “tactical” order, reported the New York Times.
Mr. Barr has since become the face of a Trump administration vow to send a surge of federal agents into cities to battle violent crime for an effort he is calling Operation Legend, which he has said would include 200 agents in Chicago and Kansas City, Mo., as well as three dozen in Albuquerque. Against the backdrop of the confrontations in Portland, Ore., the announcement received major attention.
Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington, said she was prepared to challenge Mr. Barr on what she said was a double standard in supporting Americans protesting coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders while opposing those protesting police violence and racism.
“The ways Barr has undermined that and moved toward simply satisfying the president’s needs is quite stunning,” she said.
Democrats will also press Mr. Barr on accusations raised in a hearing last month that he has politicized high-profile criminal and antitrust cases, including the decisions to scrutinize California’s emissions deal with automakers after Mr. Trump attacked it and to harass marijuana sellers in states that have legalized the substance.
They may also ask about Mr. Trump’s firing last month of Geoffrey S. Berman as the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan. Mr. Berman has privately told congressional investigators that Mr. Barr unsuccessfully pressured him to resign.
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