Attorney General William Barr suggested on Wednesday that the calls for a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus were the “greatest intrusion on civil liberties” in history “other than slavery.” The comments came minutes after he slammed the hundreds of Justice Department prosecutors working beneath him, equating them to preschoolers, in a defense of his own politically tuned decision making in the Trump administration.
Addressing a Constitution Day celebration hosted by Hillsdale College, the event’s host asked Barr to explain the “constitutional hurdles for forbidding a church from meeting during Covid-19.” “You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest. Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history,” Barr said as a round of applause came from the crowd.
The New York Daily News reports:
U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr reportedly wants to charge racial justice protesters with sedition, a harsh move that would dramatically raise the stakes in the Trump administration’s crackdown on dissent.
Barr ordered federal prosecutors on a recent conference call to consider charging demonstrators with trying to overthrow the government, not just attacking law enforcement officers or damaging federal buildings, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
The move would be a legal tough sell because sedition requires showing that protesters specifically plotted to overthrow the U.S. government as opposed to supporting dramatic reform or even revolutionary ideas.
On one hand you have slavery. On the other you have to do Curbside Pickup at Applebee’s. They’re basically the same, according to Bill Barr. https://t.co/R4513ACKfy
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 17, 2020
Attorney General described lockdown as “greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history” in the same speech in which he defended his record of using federal prosecutorial powers to protect the president’s allies and prosecute the president’s opponents.
— David Frum (@davidfrum) September 17, 2020
Attorney General Barr asked prosecutors in the Justice Department’s civil rights division to explore whether they could bring criminal charges against Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan for allowing some residents to establish a police-free protest zone. https://t.co/mqCPpXNV3e
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 17, 2020