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WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: U.S. Attorney General William Barr testifies before the House Judiciary Committee in the Congressional Auditorium at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center July 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. In his first congressional testimony in more than a year, Barr faced questions from the committee about his deployment of federal law enforcement agents to Portland, Oregon, and other cities in response to Black Lives Matter protests; his role in using federal agents to violently clear protesters from Lafayette Square near the White House last month before a photo opportunity for President Donald Trump in front of a church; his intervention in court cases involving Trump's allies Roger Stone and Michael Flynn; and other issues. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Attorney General William Barr defended the aggressive federal law enforcement response to civil unrest in America as he testified for the first time before the House Judiciary Committee. He pushed back against angry, skeptical Democrats who said President Donald Trump’s administration is unconstitutionally suppressing dissent. The hearing, held Tuesday as the late civil rights icon John Lewis lay in state steps away in the Capitol rotunda, highlighted the wide election-year gulf between the two parties on police brutality and systemic racism in law enforcement, which Barr argued does not exist. Massive protests have sparked unrest across the nation following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and calls for reform have grown louder.