Nadler’s bid to exploit Portland against Team Trump another embarrassing failure
New York’s own Rep. Jerry Nadler was in two car crashes Tuesday. The first left him uninjured but delayed the start of the House Judiciary Committee hearing with Attorney General William Barr. In the second, he humiliated himself with his long-winded, unhinged attacks on the AG.
Nadler’s opening statement ran over 1,000 words, all to insist that Barr “has twisted the Department of Justice into a shadow of its former self, capable of serving most Americans only after it has served those in power.”
Barr has been “flooding federal law enforcement into the streets of American cities, against the wishes of the state and local leaders of those cities, to forcefully and unconstitutionally suppress dissent,” Nadler claims.
In fact, the Justice Department doesn’t have the staff to “flood” many cities, and its main program to send in help operates only with local agreement — such as Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s OK earlier this week.
Otherwise, the FBI and other agencies work only to enforce federal laws, something they’ve never needed local permission for.
Nadler’s really trying to pretend that the defense of the federal courthouse in Portland, Ore., against violent attacks including arson is somehow either 1) the first step in an effort to impose a fascist dictatorship or 2) a cynical effort to generate shocking images for Trump’s campaign ads.
The latter seems to have been what Nadler was trying to get at with pointless questions about Barr’s discussions with Trump — when Cabinet officers routinely refuse to answer such queries, under presidents of either party.
Nadler finished by asking Barr to vow “that the department will not use federal law enforcement as a prop in the president’s reelection campaign” — then interrupted the answer for a long closing rant.
“The president wants footage for his campaign ads, and you appear to be serving it up to him as ordered,” Nadler charged. “In most of these cities, the protests had begun to wind down before you marched in and confronted the protesters, and the protesters aren’t mobs. They are mothers and veterans and mayors.”
What? The feds haven’t confronted the rioters much outside Portland (and in one incident near the White House in DC). And the idea that none of them are mobs is absurd: Here in the city, “protesters” have done more than $1 million in damage to NYPD vehicles alone.
As for Portland: The assaults on the federal courthouse and adjacent state Justice Center started no later than “Riot Night,” May 29, which led Mayor Ted Wheeler to fret about “watching my city get destroyed” and set an 8 pm curfew.
Whatever the “mothers and veterans” were doing, the most radical elements began nightly assaults on the two buildings, smashing windows and hurling rocks and bottles.
The weekend of July 4 (and ever since), they added in commercial-grade fireworks, setting alight the plywood that had covered the windows for weeks. And those were far from the first, or only, attempts at arson.
It wasn’t until the week of July 16 that Washington sent additional forces to Portland, so Nadler’s “the protests had begun to wind down” talk is sheer fantasy.
It’s a sad state of affairs when the chairman of the Judiciary Committee doesn’t give a damn about the truth.
All in all, it was a vast waste of time: Even CNN reporters found it ridiculous, as Kaitlan Collins tweeted, “Good to know that congressional hearings have not lost their ability to be embarrassing for all parties involved.”
Notably, Joe Biden suddenly decided to hold his first press conference in more than a month: Maybe his campaign realized it needed to distract from Nadler’s circus.
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