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AG Barr: When Pandemic Ends, Americans Will Realize Trump Saved A Lot Of Lives By Closing Border

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Attorney General William Barr said on Wednesday night that by the time that the entire coronavirus pandemic has come to an end, America will look back and realize that President Donald Trump saved a lot of lives by closing down the border early.

“Well, one of the things that I think the president has done very well here is to use the strength of the federal system where certain decisions should be made in Washington perhaps, but also allowing each state to adapt to the situation that confronts it and make their own choices,” Barr said. “And that’s a form of protecting liberty. The federal system is a form [of] protecting liberty, to have the government closest to the people make those decisions. So I think we do have that protection.”

“You’re right in the general sense that there is a power for the government to take extraordinary steps in genuine emergencies,” Barr told Fox News host Laura Ingraham. “That obviously creates a slippery slope, what do you call an emergency? And I am concerned that we not get into the business of declaring everything an emergency, and then using these kinds of sweeping, extraordinary steps.”

“But given where we were back in March, I think the president made the right decision,” Barr concluded. “I think the president has made the right decisions for the right reasons. I think against the advice of many people, he closed the borders. And I think when the history of this is written, that’s going to have saved a lot of lives. I think that given the uncertainty that surrounded this and the possibility that it was so contagious that it would swamp our healthcare system, he supported the appropriate moves for a limited period of time.”

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: Mr. Attorney General, it’s great seeing you, thanks for being with us.

BILL BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Thanks for having me, Laura.

LAURA: Right now we have no freedom of worship, public worship to go, to gather, we have no real freedom of assembly, not even freedom of movement, given what some of the states are doing. What can you tell our viewers tonight about what the Justice Department will do after this limited period, to ensure that our civil liberties are balanced properly against the need to protect the public?

BARR: Well, generally speaking, there are occasions where liberties have to be restricted during certain emergencies such as war, or in this case, a potentially devastating pandemic. But they have to be balanced — whatever steps you take have to be balanced against the civil liberties of the American people, and it cannot be used as excuse for broad deprivations of liberty. So as things proceed, we’re going to be interested in both what the federal government is imposing, and also making sure that that’s justified, but also what the states do. The states have very broad, as you know, what we call, police powers. They have very broad powers that the federal government doesn’t have to regulate the lives of their citizens, as long as they don’t violate the Constitution. So we’ll be keeping a careful eye on that.

LAURA: Governor Cuomo spoke out this week very forcefully, this Holy Week for Christians, obviously Passover as well for Jewish Americans, about the importance of not gathering together to celebrate, and I want you to listen.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO//ALBANY, NY/TODAY: Now is not the time for large religious gatherings. We paid this price already. We have learned this lesson //// you do no one a service by making this worse and infecting more people.

LAURA: At what point in time do Americans feel like they’re going to be able to have that right back and that the federal government will stand up if local officials continue this all out prohibition going forward?

BARR: Well, you know, as you know and as I indicated in my Notre Dame speech, I think religious liberty is the first liberty. It is the foundation of our republic, and a free society depends upon a vibrant religious life among the people. So anytime that’s encroached upon by the government, I’m very, very concerned. As a technical matter, as you know, in facing an emergency, the government can put — whatever restrictions the government’s willing to put on everybody else like athletic events or concerts and so forth, they can technically do it to religion as well, as long as they’re not singling out religion, and as long as it’s really necessary. So I would hate to see restrictions on religion continue longer than they’re strictly necessary. And also I think we – when this – when this 30 day period ends, I think we have to consider alternative ways of protecting people.

LAURA: I guess that he’s focused on a lot of the funerals that the Hasidic Jews are having in New York where people do gather — they gather, you know, tightly together to mourn and to pray. And so, that’s the concern. I tweeted out something earlier today just about, you know, these are inalienable rights. It means – and there are a lot of Americans today who are mourning those who’ve lost their lives in this horrible virus who also say, the government doesn’t have this right to take our rights away, even when the experts are saying this is a horrible time for us health-wise. And they’re very worried. Increasingly worried I think as time goes on, but they’ve been very patient as well.

BARR: Yes. I think they – I think they have been patient, and I think we have to be very careful to make sure this is – you know, that the draconian measures that are being adopted are fully justified, and there are not alternative ways of protecting people. And I think, you know, when this – when this period of time is — at the end of April expires, I think we have to allow people to adapt more than we have and not just tell people to go home and hide under the bed, but allow them to use other ways – social distancing and other means – to protect themselves.

LAURA: Would there become a time in the future, perhaps after this April 30th date, where a state somewhere or local official who declares no religious services with no accommodation, that there’s a lawsuit filed, federal civil rights lawsuit against that government action, whether it’s by executive decree locally or statewide or whether it’s by the federal government? I mean, when would that happen? Would it take a lawsuit? Or would you take action?

BARR: Well we’ve seen situations even up until now where some jurisdictions have imposed special burdens on religion that they weren’t also applying to other kinds of gatherings and events, and we jawboned the local governments that point saying they really couldn’t do that, that whatever they were doing to churches, they had to do to everybody. And they changed their rules to be neutral in that respect.

So we’re going to keep an eye on all these actions that restrict people’s liberty. But by the same token, in a situation that is essentially akin to wartime, there are — the government can impose certain limitations.

LAURA: But in wartime, we had a Supreme Court that still was in session, we had a Congress that I don’t believe ever went out of session for any length of time.

And now we’re in a wartime now, and we have the executive branch, Congress is back home in their district, and Supreme Court is closed.

What’s that — how is that the whole of government approach to fighting a pandemic when it’s just the executive branch?

BARR: Well, the Congress has taken action –

LAURA: Spending a lot of money, yes.

BARR: fairly substantial action. They certainly had the ability to provide guidance and restrictions on how we responded to this, they’ve chosen to do what they’ve done, and they’re certainly free to come back into session any time they want to make a course adjustment.

The Supreme Court has for a period of time, certainly during this 30 day period, stopped their usual business.

INGRAHAM: But you see what I’m saying, the rule of law still applies during a pandemic — the rule of law, our inalienable rights, the law of the land.

I mean, this — it all still exists, and we don’t want to set a precedent where every time experts declare a crisis, and it’s scary and a lot of people are going to die, that we just lose our ability to function as a government and the executive branch — I mean, I know you’re the executive branch now, but where we don’t have that whole of government real approach to safeguard the liberties of the American people.

BARR: Well one of the things that I think the president has done very well here is to use the strength of the federal system where certain decisions should be made in Washington perhaps, but also allowing each state to adapt to the situation that confronts it and make their own choices. And that’s a form of protecting liberty. The federal system is a form or protecting liberty, to have the government closest to the people make those decisions. So I think we do have that protection. You’re right in the general sense that there is a power for the government to take extraordinary steps in genuine emergencies. That obviously creates a slippery slope, what do you call an emergency. And I am concerned that we not get into the business of declaring everything an emergency, and then using these kinds of sweeping extraordinary steps. But given where we were back in March, I think the president made the right decision. I think the president has made the right decisions for the right reasons. I think against the advice of many people, he closed the borders. And I think when the history of this is written, that’s going to have saved a lot of lives. I think that given the uncertainty that surrounded this and the possibility that it was so contagious that it would swamp our healthcare system, he supported the appropriate moves for a limited period of time.

Author: Daily Wire News

Source: Daily Wire: AG Barr: When Pandemic Ends, Americans Will Realize Trump Saved A Lot Of Lives By Closing Border

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