Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ05) blames House Democrats for Attorney General William Barr last-minute decision not to appear before the House Judiciary Committee.
Democrats on the House committee announced that they would allow staff to also ask questions. While this is not the norm, his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier in the week demonstrated the need for additional scrutiny of the Attorney General. The New York Times reported that the Attorney General made several false or misleading statements during his testimony
“Given the Attorney General’s lack of candor before other congressional committees, I believe my colleagues and I were right to insist on the extended questioning,” said House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY10). “To my knowledge, not even the Ranking Member was opposed to the idea of moving into closed session if necessary.”
Unsurprisingly, Rep. Biggs does not agree with Rep. Nadler. He believes the Democrats’ true goal is to impeach President Donald Trump and to embarrass the Attorney General in the process.
Rep. Barr released the following statement:
“Like all members of our committee, I looked forward to hearing from Attorney General Barr today. Unfortunately, Democrats insisted on their desire for staff to question the Attorney General – something that has not happened in the history of this committee – jeopardizing his appearance. Instead of attempting to glean the truth from Attorney General Barr, Democrats are shamelessly laying the path for impeachment of President Donald Trump, seeking to embarrass Attorney General Barr in the process. I’m glad that the Attorney General will not stoop to the partisan levels of Chairman Nadler and Judiciary Democrats, and I call on my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to relent with their unreasonable and unprecedented demands. Let Members question Attorney General Barr: period.”
On Twitter, Rep. Biggs explained his support for Barr’s decision not to appear before the House Judiciary Committee. He blamed Chairman Nadler specifically and characterized his actions as “unethical”.
Rep. Biggs later went on Fox News to blast Democrats, characterizing their behavior as “childish.”
As a reliable ally of President Trump and a staunch conservative, Rep. Biggs’ decision to attack Democrats is nothing new. However, his and his Republican colleagues’ lack of support for congressional oversight over the executive branch sets a dangerous precedent.
Our system of government is founded on the principle of separation of powers. James Madison believed that ambition in one branch would check ambition in the other two branches. However, Republicans like Rep. Biggs think in terms of political party rather than branch of government. The entrenchment of this mentality within the GOP is putting our entire political system on a dangerous course.