In a September 21 letter addressed to Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd informed the House Judiciary Committee Chairman that the DOJ will not provide witnesses to testify for upcoming hearings following Attorney General William Barr’s appearance on July 28 before the House Judiciary Committee, as “many Committee Members chose instead to use their allotted time to air grievances” and “squandered its opportunity to conduct a meaningful oversight hearing with the Attorney General”.
“Rather than attempt to obtain information from the Department that would assist the Committee in recommending legislation to the House, many Members of the majority devoted their time entirely towards scolding and insulting the Attorney General,” Boyd wrote.
“These Members refused to allow the Attorney General to respond to their accusations
or to answer questions asked for rhetorical effect. As the New York Times reported, ‘Democrat
after Democrat posed questions to Mr. Barr only to cut him off when he tried to reply, substituting their own replies for his,'” Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd said.
“In what can only be viewed as a coordinated effort to muzzle the Attorney General, the Members repeatedly invoked the phrase, ‘reclaiming my time,’ which they employed more than 30 times when the Attorney General tried to respond. All told, when the Attorney General tried to address the Committee’s questions, he was interrupted and silenced in excess of 70 times. Some Members were quite candid that they had no interest in actually hearing from the Attorney General. One Member interrupted him and admitted, ‘Well I don’t want you to tell your story'”, Boyd wrote.
He continued: “Another advised, ‘You will have a chance to comment after your testimony is done here today.’ Despite the Attorney General appearing in person and taking questions from all Members who were present, he was denied the most basic opportunities to respond. As the Supreme Court recently reiterated, the purpose of a hearing by the House is to obtain the information necessary to legislate ‘wisely and effectively,’ and the questioning is required to serve a legitimate legislative purpose.”
“Yet the House’s so-called oversight ‘hearing’ of the Attorney General did preciously little to advance any legitimate interest since the Attorney General was repeatedly denied the opportunity to provide information to the Committee. We very much regret that the Committee did not elect to engage in a meaningful, good-faith effort to obtain information and views from the Attorney General while he was present and prepared to testify,” Boyd explained. Continued Below
“Having squandered its opportunity to conduct a meaningful oversight hearing with the Attorney General, it remains unclear how further public spectacles with other Department officials would now—a mere 14 legislative days since the Attorney General’s hearing—advance the Committee’s
legitimate oversight efforts,” Boyd wrote.
“In short, the Attorney General recently appeared before the Committee and was available
to address the topics that are to be covered by the September 24 and October 1 hearings,” he added.
Rep. Jerry Nadler posted the letter on Twitter Tuesday and vented his frustration, writing, “41 days before the election, Mr. Barr is trying to pick a fight with the Committee in an attempt to change the subject from the President’s disastrous handling of the pandemic, and set a new standard for sheer arrogance and open contempt of Congress. We will plan accordingly.” Continued Below
Rep. Jerry Nadler’s tweet:
41 days before the election, Mr. Barr is trying to pick a fight with the Committee in an attempt to change the subject from the President’s disastrous handling of the pandemic, and set a new standard for sheer arrogance and open contempt of Congress. We will plan accordingly. https://t.co/Nxn67UnXxu
— Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) September 22, 2020
Official letter addressed to Rep. Jerrold Nadler from Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd:
Here’s a few examples from the July hearing which Mr. Boyd was referring to:
Barr’s quiet demeanor and command of the issues threaten the Dems command of the narrative. So they didn’t let him talk. When he tried to answer their “questions,” which were prepared diatribes, they reacted as if he was interrupting them, saying, “reclaiming my time.” pic.twitter.com/thUcMwiABV
— Fiery but peaceful Mike (@Doranimated) August 1, 2020
“I’m reclaiming my time why aren’t you answering my question reclaiming my time…”
How hapless are these Dems?pic.twitter.com/38e2NVSQIJ
— Seán Fhirnuin Ui'Coinnigh (@svkenney) July 30, 2020