In an effort to please Donald Trump, Attorney General William Barr interfered in the sentencing of Trump’s longtime friend Roger Stone. He also used media leaks to try to create the false impression that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was being indicted on imaginary charges. But his scheme fell apart when his Department of Justice announced that the longtime sham investigation into McCabe was being dropped.
Trump, who is clueless about how most of these things work, suddenly realized that Barr doesn’t have nearly as much corrupt power as he’s been pretending he had and that the public can see through his malfeasance. Now, more than 1,100 former Department of Justice (DOJ) officials are calling to resign.
“Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding, unfortunately, speak louder than his words,” the group of ex-officials wrote in a letter shared on Sunday by Protect Democracy, a nonprofit advocacy group. “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 public statement arrived as Barr and the Justice Department face increased scrutiny over their actions in the Stone case. Four prosecutors resigned from the case last week, and one left the job altogether after Barr and other DOJ leaders asked for a lighter prison sentence than the one the front-line prosecutors initially recommended.
The prosecution team had initially told the judge that Stone should serve seven to nine years in prison for lying to Congress and obstruction. Trump railed against the sentencing guideline, and just a day later, the Justice Department said the recommendation did not “accurately reflect” its position.
The former officials condemned Trump and Barr for repeatedly flouting principles based on an “evenhanded administration of justice,” saying that the Stone case was just the latest example.
“Such behavior is a grave threat to the fair administration of justice,” they wrote. “A person should not be given special treatment in a criminal prosecution because they are a close political ally of the President.”
The statement acknowledged that it is unlikely Barr will resign. Instead, the former officials wrote that the burden falls on “career officials to take appropriate action to uphold their oaths of office and defend nonpartisan, apolitical justice.”
They then called on current officials to follow the “heroic example” set by the prosecutors who resigned from Stone’s case. Stone’s trial stemmed from crimes unearthed by former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference.
“Be prepared to report future abuses to the Inspector General, the Office of Professional Responsibility, and Congress; to refuse to carry out directives that are inconsistent with their oaths of office; to withdraw from cases that involve such directives or other misconduct; and, if necessary, to resign and report publicly … to the American people the reasons for their resignation,” the statement read.