Trump 'Henchman' Bill Barr Shows Clear Double Standards on Protests: Jayapal

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) has accused Attorney General William Barr of being a "henchman" for President Donald Trump and showing double standards when it comes to the treatment of protesters in the U.S.

"Bill Barr is not acting as the attorney general for the people of the United States; Bill Bar is the personal henchman for Donald Trump," Jayapal said during an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday.

Jayapal made the comments after a heated exchange with Barr during a House Judiciary Committee hearing earlier that day.

During the hearing, Jayapal grilled Barr on the apparent "discrepancy" in his department's treatment of Black Lives Matter protesters in Washington, D.C. fighting racial injustice and the treatment of protesters in Michigan who stormed their state's Capitol in an armed show of opposition to statewide policies aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus.

"The point I'm trying to make here…is that there is a real discrepancy in how you react as the attorney general, the top cop in this country, when white men with swastikas storm a government building with guns," Jayapal said during the hearing. "There is no need for the president to 'activate' you because they're getting the president's personal agenda done," she said.

"But when Black people and people of color protest police brutality, systemic racism, and the president's very own lack of response to those critical issues, then you forcibly remove them with armed federal officers [and] pepper bombs, because they are considered terrorists by the president," Jayapal said.

During the hearing, Barr denied showing any leniency towards any one group of protesters.

He further said that he was not aware of certain aspects of the protests in Michigan, including threats made to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

"There are a lot of protests around the United States," Barr said, suggesting that he could not stay on top of them all.

In her interview with MSNBC, Jayapal said she did not buy Barr's claim that he was not aware of the threats.

"He's only not aware of the things that he doesn't want to be aware of," she said. "I think that this is Bill Barr and his selective enforcement."

Bill Barr proved today what we've long known: he is not serving as the Attorney General for the American people. He is serving as the personal henchman for Donald Trump.

— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) July 29, 2020

Barr, she said, "has no interest whatsoever in ensuring safe elections. He has no interest in actually taking on police brutality and racism," she said.

Instead, Jayapal accused Barr of using his department "to essentially counter any protesters that are protesting Donald Trump but he does not use the department to protect people when protesters are actually implementing Trump's agenda."

The Washington representative later followed up on her comments with a tweet, saying Barr is ultimately "aggressive towards Black Lives Matter protests but not armed right-wing extremists threatening to lynch a Governor…because white men with swastikas storming a Capitol are part of Trump's agenda while people of color protesting injustice are seen as terrorists."

Newsweek has contacted the DOJ for comment.

Pramila Jayapal
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) questions Attorney General William Barr during the House Judiciary Committee on July 28, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Jayapal questioned Barr on discrepancies between the treatment of Black Lives Matter protesters in Washington, D.C. and protesters who rallied against coronavirus measures in Michigan. Matt McClain-Pool/Getty