Hawaii Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono told Attorney General William Barr to his face Wednesday that he should resign and accused the nation’s top law enforcement official of lying to Congress.
“Mr. Barr, now the American people know that you are no different from Rudy Giuliani or Kellyanne Conway or any of the other people who sacrificed their once decent reputation for the grifter and liar who sits in the Oval Office,” Hirono said, referring to two of President Donald Trump’s top media surrogates.
At Barr’s appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Hirono took issue with Barr’s handling of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and report in a lengthy diatribe. Hirono’s speech directly to Barr recalled previous moments for the Hawaii Democrat, whose cutting questioning of the confirmation of now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh drew considerable attention.
Hirono on Wednesday pointed to exchanges Barr had with members of Congress where Barr said he did not know what objections Mueller’s team had with his March 24 letter on the investigation’s findings and if Mueller supported his conclusions.
“You lied to Congress,” Hirono said.
In her remarks, Hirono said she was unsurprised by Barr’s actions, citing both his conduct decades ago in response to the Reagan-era Iran-Contra scandal and a memo he authored last year criticizing the obstruction leg of Mueller’s probe.
“But now we know more about your deep involvement and trying to cover up for Donald Trump,” Hirono said. “Being attorney general of the United States is a sacred trust. You have betrayed that trust. America deserves better. You should resign.”
Several Democrats have joined Hirono in slamming Barr, criticism that was amplified by revelations on the eve of Wednesday’s hearing that Mueller had previously reached out to Barr to express concern about Barr’s March letter on the special counsel’s report. Democrats at Wednesday’s hearing accused Barr of misleading Congress on the issue, while Barr defended his actions and called the controversy “sort of mind-bendingly bizarre.”
At the conclusion of Hirono’s time, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham came to Barr’s defense and said, “Listen, you’ve slandered this man.”
Hirono responded, “I do not think that I’m slandering anyone. Mr. Chairman, I am done. Thank you very much.”
“You have slandered this man from top to bottom,” Graham, a South Carolina Republican, continued. “So if you want more of this, you’re not going to get it. If you want to ask him questions, you can.”