Attorney General William Barr’s blustery assertion of independence in his Thursday interview fooled exactly no one. And now, over 1,100 former Justice Department officials have signed onto a letter calling for his resignation in the wake of his interference in Roger Stone’s sentencing.
“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,” wrote the former Justice Department attorneys in their Sunday open letter. “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.”
The condemnatory letter follows Barr’s move to lessen the recommended sentence of Stone, a Trump associate who was convicted of charges including witness tampering and obstructing congress, in the wake of the president tweeting that his original recommended sentence of seven to nine years was too harsh. Though four federal prosecutors quit the Stone case in protest of Barr’s interference, Trump subsequently praised the attorney general’s decision.
Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought. Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted. Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2020
While Barr gave an interview to ABC News Thursday in which he chided the president for his tweets and asserted the independence of his office, he also sparked renewed claims of political interference by ordering a review of the case against former Trump administration National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who plead guilty in 2017 to lying to federal agents about his phone calls with Russia’s ambassador.
“We welcome Attorney General Barr’s belated acknowledgment that the DOJ’s law enforcement decisions must be independent of politics,” read the Justice Department alumni open letter, “that it is wrong for the President to interfere in specific enforcement matters, either to punish his opponents or to help his friends; and that the President’s public comments on DOJ matters have gravely damaged the Department’s credibility. But Mr. Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words.”
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