Almost 2,000 former Justice Department and FBI officials signed an open letter demanding Attorney General William Barr’s resignation on Monday. The letter was prompted by Barr’s decision to drop the prosecution of President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, last week.
The DOJ’s decision to abandon Flynn’s case showed that Barr had “once again assaulted the rule of law,” the letter reads. According to the The Washington Post, the group is organized by the nonprofit “Protect Democracy” and consists of Justice Department alumni who had previously called for Barr to step down in February. That effort collected 2,600 signatures following the AG’s intervention into the sentencing of Roger Stone.
The Post goes on to say that the letter was signed by a majority of former career staffers and not political appointees.
The letter accuses Barr of acting on the behalf of the president’s friendship with Flynn: “Make no mistake: The Department’s action is extraordinarily rare, if not unprecedented. If any of us, or anyone reading this statement who is not a friend of the President, were to lie to federal investigators in the course of a properly predicated counterintelligence investigation, and admit we did so under oath, we would be prosecuted for it.”
Again, the group addresses Trump’s influence over the attorney general, writing, “Barr’s repeated actions to use the Department as a tool to further President Trump’s personal and political interests have undermined any claim to the deference that courts usually apply to the Department’s decisions about whether or not to prosecute a case.”
Then, reaffirming their rebuke of Barr following the Stone matter, the group wrote, “We continue to believe that it would be best for the integrity of the Justice Department and for our democracy for Attorney General Barr to step aside.”
The officials also called on Congress to take action and formally censure Barr.
“In the meantime, we call on Congress to hold the Attorney General accountable. … We also call upon Congress to formally censure Attorney General Barr for his repeated assaults on the rule of law in doing the President’s personal bidding rather than acting in the public interest,” the letter says.
Last week, in an interview with CBS News, Barr denied that he was doing the bidding of the president in the Flynn case, but said he was instead “doing the law’s bidding.” Those who’ve signed the letter and served under both Republican and Democratic administrations, obviously disagree.