Thursday on MSNBC, former California Attorney General Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) commented on Attorney General Bill Barr’s Justice Department dropping the case against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn for allegedly lying to the FBI amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Harris said, “It’s not surprising, frankly, Nicolle. That hearing— in May of last year, so a full year ago, I called for Bill Barr to resign. He clearly has never followed the role, the responsibility, and the mission of the attorney general, which is to be the people’s lawyer. He has instead consistently done Donald Trump’s bidding, and this is yet another example. You know, here’s the thing, remember Elliott Richardson, Nixon’s attorney general, under a Republican, nominated by a Republican president who refused to do the investigation of Archibald Cox and said I’m resigning, right? The role and responsibility of the United States Department of Justice is to do Justice, unimpeded, un-interfered by favor or fear, and also to do the work that is about doing justice and not being interfered with by a political agenda which is clearly Donald Trump’s agenda. It’s outrageous, and I couldn’t agree more, I absolutely agree we have to make sure that the career professionals in that department stay there and hold down the fort in spite of the fact that there’s an attorney general of the United States who is — who has really done the work of disrupting justice in America.”
Host Nicolle Wallace said, “It’s work that’s ongoing. Attorney General Barr is running a U.S. Attorney out of Connecticut, Mr. Durham, who is re-examining, and it’s become a criminal investigation as well some of the very same conduct that’s been examined almost half a dozen times by inspectors general and others. Is there any way to reach in and protect the kind of individuals you’re talking about, career prosecutors?”
Harris said, “Well, one, we have to have oversight, and we’ve been asking for that oversight. I’ve asked that Barr come before the Judicial Committee. I’m on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and we need to have oversight. We need to find out what is going on. From the earliest days when you played the tape of my questions of Barr when he was up for confirmation, we need to oversee what is happening in that agency in terms of what conversations Bill Barr is having with the president, what kind of conversations they are having that are about interfering with the justice being done by the career folks there. But this is outrageous. This is outrageous. And in the midst of this pandemic, in the midst of people standing in line for hours to get food, in the midst of — I just saw some information today, one out of five mothers are saying that their children are hungry. In the midst of a crisis, because this president will not use the Defense Production Act to get the number of tests out to America that we need to actually have some control over this pandemic, in the midst of all of that, the president has his attorney general, the hand of the president doing his political work, his personal bidding, in the face of what should be a Justice Department doing the work of preserving justice and fighting for justice in America. But that’s not what we’re going to get in Bill Barr. Again, I will say he should resign.”
She continued, “We have 33 million people in America who just in the last few weeks have become unemployed. To have a work requirement that people are employed in order to get food stamps is outrageous because, of course, we now have 33 million people who are not working. So there’s a lot of work that needs to happen and needs to happen immediately, to your point, so that these children are not going hungry.”
Wallace said, “What do you say about this whiplash? You look at the lines of cars in places like Dallas lining up for the food banks, and it’s clear that these were families on their way to carpool and offices 60 days ago, and now we have a president who throws around the death toll with a callousness that’s just unimaginable. What do you make of all the country has been through in the last 60, 70 days?”
Harris said, “Honestly, it breaks my heart. I know it does that for all of us. People are suffering right now. People are hungry. They’re standing in lines. There is a hunger crisis in America right now, and we need to come to terms with this, and this is again where we need a commander-in-chief who takes on the responsibility of lifting up the American people and meeting their needs while in this crisis people are suffering literally to get food to feed their families. The fact that in America today, we have so many hungry people and that this is our crisis is unconscionable, and it requires all leaders to step up and focus on what is important today. It’s not letting somebody like Flynn off who pled guilty because he is guilty. It’s about having people in a position of leadership who are addressing the needs of people who are suffering in America today. The coincidence that this happened that the Department of Justice does this on the same day that the most recent unemployment numbers come out, on the same day that we have a report that one in five mothers is explaining that their children are hungry, talk about misplaced priorities. It is about an abject failure of leadership, abandonment of leadership when the American people need their government the most.”
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