Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., reacted to Attorney General Bill Barr’s opening tribute to the late Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.
Barr, in his opening testimony before the House Judiciary committee, paid respects to Lewis, an “indomitable champion of civil rights and rule of law,” and highlighted his “unwavering commitment to nonviolence.”
“You started your testimony with eloquent words about the life and legacy of John Lewis fighting systematic racism,” Richmond said.
“When you all came here and brought your top staff, you brought no B lack people,” the Louisiana Democrat pointed out. “That, sir, is systematic racism. That is exactly what John Lewis spent his life fighting.”
“And so I would just suggest that actions speak louder than words and you really should keep the name of the honorable John Lewis out of the Justice Department’s mouth,” Richmond said.
Lewis, who served 33 years in Congress, died at the age of 80 last week. Lewis was already a major civil rights figure by the time he made it to the House in 1987: in 1961, he was one of the original 13 activists who participated in the Freedom Rides and in 1963 he was one of the keynote speakers at the historic March on Washington. His death provoked an outpouring of condolences from both the left and right.
Richmond also asked Barr whether he believes the election will be “rigged” due to mail-in voting and if President Trump has the power to move Election Day. Barr said he had no reason to believe the election would be rigged and he was unsure whether the president had the power to move election day.
Barr did say there was a “high risk” that mail-in voting could lead to voter fraud, and Richmond noted that Barr has voted by mail.
Richmond also asked Barr if he believes Russia interfered in the 2016 election and whether it is attempting to do so this year. Barr answered affirmatively to both questions. “I think we have to assume that they are,” Barr said of the upcoming election.