The hosts of Fox News’ “The Five” rightly raked House Democrats over the coals Tuesday for their “disgusting” and “infantile” treatment of Attorney General William Barr during his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. Barr had appeared before the committee earlier in the day for the first time in his more than one year with the Trump administration, after months of legal and political pressure to do so.
When House Democrats finally got a chance to ask Barr questions regarding the Justice Department’s response to recent nationwide civil unrest and treatment of both the Mueller investigation and its resulting prosecutions, they were anything but civil, leveling wild accusations against the attorney general and frequently speaking over him.
“The Five” wasn’t buying it.
In an introductory monologue, co-host Jesse Watters described the proceedings better than most anyone could — that is, without the use of the odd expletive. The hearing “was not a hearing” at all, he said. Instead, it had been a strategic “cancellation” of the nation’s ranking legal mind.
“They just wanted to cancel Bill Barr,” Watters said. “They were not interested in hearing or listening to anything he had to say because they know he’s armed with facts. He’s calm, cool and collected and they’re just angry. They’re furious. They look unserious and they look unprofessional.”
He went on to suggest the Democratic House Judiciary’s treatment of Barr had been the result of pent up “bad energy” toward the attorney general for his department’s investigative attempts at “turning the tables on [the left’s] Russia hoax.” And given House Democrats’ behavior Tuesday, it would be hard to argue any differently.
What other than bad blood could possibly motivate a 15-term legislator to deny the Attorney General of the United States the congressional courtesy of a bathroom break? No, that is not a joke. As the hearing dragged on into its third hour Tuesday, an unexpectedly tense standoff was sparked over Barr having the apparent gall to request that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler grant him a five-minute recess.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Chairman, could I– could we take a five-minute break,” Barr asked Nadler in a down moment while the line of questioning was transferred from one committee member to the next.
Nadler rejected the request, only to be reminded by ranking Republican Rep. Jim Jordan that unscheduled breaks are a “common courtesy” often extended to congressional witnesses. Even a reminder from Barr to Nadler that the committee had been late in getting underway that morning did not change the liberal legislator’s mind.
“Mr. Attorney General, we are almost finished,” Nadler said. “We are going to be finished in a few minutes. We can certainly take a break, but–“
“You’re a real class act, Mr. Chairman,” Barr responded sarcastically, “a real class act.”
Jordan then interrupted again, saying, “He wants a break now, and you just mentioned rudeness. I think we’re seeing it on display. Let’s let the attorney general have a break.”
Finally, the tiny tyrant relented and let the attorney general take his leave to the bathroom. Of course, this paled in comparison to the way Democrats spoke over the attorney general during the rest of the hearing. In fact, in an afternoon punctuated by interruptions, Barr was forced to ask on one occasion in particular that he “be heard” at his own hearing.
The interaction came as Barr was questioned by Democratic Rep. Lou Correa of California regarding President Donald Trump’s push for citizenship and illegal immigration to be addressed on the 2020 United States census.
“Let’s talk a little bit about the census,” Correa said. “Every 10 years, we decide how many congressional sears each state gets, how much funding for schools, health care, other issues each region gets. Let’s talk about the president’s memo directing the commerce secretary to exclude undocumented immigrants from the apportionment count of the 2020 census.”
“Are undocumented people not whole individuals?” Correa asked, demanding (rather ridiculously) to know whether the Barr Justice Department believed illegal immigrants to be people at all.
“They are obviously people,” Barr said. “The legal issue there was the terminology of the Constitution.”
“What the department advised — this came up because Alabama claims you cannot count illegal aliens in the census under the Constitution — the department looked at it and advised that Congress can determine the meaning of ‘inhabitant’ for this purpose, that it is not a self-defining term,” Barr said.
Attempting to squeeze in another question before his time expired, Correa spoke over the attorney general, saying, “We’ve only got two minutes, sir. Mr. Barr, if I may–“
“Yeah, but this is a hearing,” Barr said. “I thought I was the one who was supposed to be heard.”
This was not the only time Barr was interrupted by legislators looking to “reclaim” their time, however. Far from it. In fact, it got so bad conservatives compiled Democratic interruptions into a minute-long video that would be hilarious if it were not so deeply frustrating.
It was this unwillingness to listen that seemed to grate most on the nerves of “The Five” co-host Greg Gutfeld. What was the point of Democrats dragging Barr through the legal and establishment media mud for months on end for his testimony, if they only ever intended to use his appearance before the House as an attempt to grandstand and talk over him in pursuit of political points? Like most of us, Gutfeld reflected the day’s proceedings as a complete and utter waste of time.
“After that fiasco, we have to reclaim our time for America,” the host joked. “Have you ever heard of a more infantile loser defense? In the hearing that you could ask a question, then cut the answer off with ‘I’m reclaiming my time.’ It creates a one-way street, in which you could actually accuse somebody of murder, you could accuse them of treason and then you deny them the opportunity to defend themselves.
“This is the party of compassion? I saw nothing but fascists. These guys — no wonder they think the mob in Portland and Seattle is not a bad thing. The mob is just their street team,” he said.
“I have never seen anything more disgusting on TV. I thought the Kavanaugh hearing was an injustice. This is pretty close.”
Conservative commentator and alternate “The Five” co-host Katie Pavlich raised similar concerns, suggesting the hearing had revealed House Democrats to be responsible for the politicization of justice in Washington D.C. — an allegation often leveled against Barr by the American left.
“Their behavior of cutting him off and not allowing him to answer questions about very serious issues shows this is just an extension of the impeachment trial in terms of their behavior and they can’t move forward,” Pavlich said.
“While they accuse Bill Barr of being political, they were all very political today in trying to put the administration on trial again.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Andrew J. Sciascia