William Barr lies repeatedly and brazenly about St. John's Church attack on 'Face the Nation'
Trump's loyalist attorney general, William Barr, was on Face the Nation this morning to do what he does: betray his oath of office and the nation while lying to the American public to protect Donald Trump from consequences. Barr's own story on his involvement with the attack on Lafayette Park and St. John's Church protesters continues to shift with the winds; in a Saturday interview, Barr backed away from reports he ordered the attack with the rock-solid defense "My attitude was get it done, but I didn’t say, ‘Go do it.’"
One of today's new Barr claims was that Trump "never asked or suggested that we needed to deploy regular troops" to put down the protests. This flies in the face of reports by multiple reports of Trump furiously demanding that exact thing, on that exact afternoon, in a meeting William Barr was in.
Barr is demonstrably lying, which is yet another reason he and everyone else in the administration has refused to testify to Congress about any of their acts. Trump insisted "We need 10,000 troops up here. I want it right now," The Washington Post relays from a senior Pentagon official; Trump was only talked out of it by the combined efforts of the now-lying Barr, Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley, and Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Even then, Esper moved 82nd Airborne units into position nearby to keep Trump "at bay," Trump was so insistent.
Asked to follow up, Barr had to admit that those troops were indeed called up, and tried to bullshit and bluster his way through:
"Well, your question to me just a moment ago was did he demand them on the streets, did he demand them in D.C.. No, we had them on standby in case they were needed."
Barr also continued to insist the protesters attacked at Lafayette Park were "not peaceful," ignoring Brennan's reminders that numerous of the network's own reporters were there and contradict his account. He insisted "There were not chemical irritants. Pepper spray is not a chemical irritant. It's not chemical." And "there was no gas."
Again, each of these statements was contradicted by reporters on the ground, and the Park Police itself had to withdraw its earlier claim that tear gas was not used in the park. He's lying. He's simply lying about all of it, via the time-warn practice of redefining questions and words themselves so that they mean whatever he prefers them to mean. He is not just lying, he is brazenly trolling his questioner.
The big lie, however, was that the attack on Lafayette Park and Trump’s walk to the church mere minutes later were “not connected.” The Park Police had been preparing to clear the park since that morning, said Barr, but it was complete coincident that the operation began, and the use of flashbang grenades, at precisely the moment networks began broadcasting an expected Trump speech that ended with Donald Trump announcing that he would now be taking a walk through the very grounds just cleared. Barr, in fact, says he “didn’t know” even that Trump would be speaking, when he “gave the green light” (which was not an order, but which was an order?) to clear the park.
It is evident that we will not see William Barr testify under oath—about this or anything else—until the Trump administration has ended and he has lost all power to refuse such testimony. At this point he is involved in perhaps a dozen scandals, all revolving around his attempts to block public knowledge of Trump’s various corrupt or Constitution-breaking acts. His Justice Department has become a tool only for exonerating Trump’s allies and punishing Trump’s opponents.
The one true thing we can take from all of this is that even William Barr, a devoted fascist, is aware that last Monday's attack crossed a line that not even a president is allowed to cross. Donald Trump is not allowed to beat, gas and drive out clergy on private church property or an adjacent park for the sole purpose of commandeering church property for a photo shoot. Both Trump and Barr believed he was, when the order was given; only days later did Barr realize that the country was not following him into his new definition of our laws.
House Democrat reluctance to insist on Barr's immediate testimony, as well as the testimony of all others involved in the militarization of Washington, the mobilization of unidentified paramilitary-outfitted groups, and the attacks on protesters, remains baffling. Barr and the others will of course refuse; Congress then must act to compel their cooperation in investigating these brazen violations of the Constitution and civil rights even if it means dragging each official to a hearing room in handcuffs and under guard.
As Barr has once again shown, nothing in the Constitution applies if there is no consequence for violating it; there is no such thing as consent of the governed if those that govern lie, egregiously, even about provable facts. Barr must be removed for his actions; Esper, Milley and others in the vague, seemingly invented-on-the-fly chain of command that led to these events must be expelled from public service.