William Barr Defends Federal Deployments to Break Up Protests in Tense Hearing

Democrats, Republicans use hearing to preview themes emerging in the 2020 presidential race

During a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Attorney General William Barr and panel Democrats sparred over policing in the Black community and the U.S. government response to quelling nationwide protests. Barr also defended his decision in the Roger Stone case. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Attorney General William Barr clashed with congressional Democrats Tuesday at a hearing in which he rejected accusations he is working to politically boost President Trump on a number of fronts, including by deploying federal agents in response to protests and his personal intervention in criminal cases involving the president’s allies.

In his first congressional appearance in more than a year, Mr. Barr said the federal response was needed to confront violent demonstrators and fight crime in cities where local officials had...

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