After a tumultuous week at the Department of Justice, former prosecutors have had enough of Barr's shoddy lawyering.
Former Justice Department prosecutors joined hands on Sunday to submit a rare statement calling on Attorney General Bill Barr to resign from his position. The officials, previously employed in both Democratic and Republican administrations, condemned United States President Donald Trump's and Barr's "interference in the fair administration of justice," CNN reports. The group argued that the Attorney General had sacrificed the sanctity of his role to perform Trump's bidding. While it is unlikely that Barr will resign due to this statement, it must be noted that Department of Justice alumni have never before come together in order to denounce an official in this manner.
“I don’t sign a letter like this lightly … I think his actions culminating last week have really undermined DOJ’s credibility and independence and when you’re a prosecutor, that’s all you’ve got.” -- @eliehonig explains why he signed letter calling for Bill Barr's resignation. pic.twitter.com/COzOpL4NkP— Ana Cabrera (@AnaCabrera) February 16, 2020
"As former DOJ officials, we each proudly took an oath to support and defend our Constitution and faithfully execute the duties of our offices," they wrote. "The very first of these duties is to apply the law equally to all Americans. This obligation flows directly from the Constitution, and it is embedded in countless rules and laws governing the conduct of DOJ lawyers. The Justice Manual — the DOJ’s rulebook for its lawyers — states that 'the rule of law depends on the evenhanded administration of justice'; that the Department’s legal decisions 'must be impartial and insulated from political influence'; and that the Department’s prosecutorial powers, in particular, must be 'exercised free from partisan consideration.'"
The alumni affirmed that all DOJ lawyers are well-versed with these rules and fundamental principles. Despite this, there is no doubt that Attorney General Barr flouted these regulations so as to aid Trump. They asserted, "President Trump and Attorney General Barr have openly and repeatedly flouted [these] fundamental [principles], most recently in connection with the sentencing of President Trump’s close associate, Roger Stone, who was convicted of serious crimes... Although there are times when political leadership appropriately weighs in on individual prosecutions, it is unheard of for the Department’s top leaders to overrule line prosecutors, who are following established policies, in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the President, as Attorney General Barr did in the Stone case. It is even more outrageous for the Attorney General to intervene as he did here — after the President publicly condemned the sentencing recommendation that line prosecutors had already filed in court."
They concluded, "Those actions, and the damage they have done to the Department of Justice’s reputation for integrity and the rule of law, require Mr. Barr to resign." The statement comes after a tumultuous week at the Department of Justice. In all but seven days, Barr ordered a separate investigation of politically underlined cases comprising those close to President Trump, pushed back against the President in a strange interview, and overruled sentencing recommendations from career prosecutors (causing them to withdraw from the case entirely). The alumni also persuaded the Justice Department's career officials to "take appropriate action to uphold their oaths of office and defend nonpartisan, apolitical justice."
At present, no signs point to Barr stepping down from his position. Few expect him to do so, including Democratic Presidential contender Amy Klobuchar. "Sure, I'd be glad if he resigned. I just don't think that is realistic," she stated. "But what I think is realistic is that he is now going to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee. I'd also like him to come to the Senate. And, along with my colleagues, I have asked him to do that, so we can probe him on the role of the President in trying to influence decisions in the Department of Justice, in particular the Stone decision." Klobuchar, a Senator from Minnesota, claimed Barr's involvement in the case was "not normal." Hopefully, the US Senate can hold him accountable to the oath he took - if not for the sake of American democracy, at least to save his own crooked career.