More than 1,100 former Department of Justice officials have signed a scathing letter calling for Attorney General William Barr to resign.
The statement cites this week’s actions taken by both President Trump and the attorney general in the Roger Stone case that “require Mr. Barr to resign.” The open letter was signed by former federal prosecutors and DOJ officials and was released on Sunday.
After first pointing out that the DOJ alumni who’ve signed the letter served for both Republican and Democratic administrations, the letter goes on to denounce the president and the attorney general.
“Each of us strongly condemns President Trump’s and Attorney General Barr’s interference in the fair administration of justice,” the statement read.
The letter continued, calling for the attorney general to vacate his office: “Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words. 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 call for Barr’s resignation followed this week’s unusual move where the DOJ overrode the sentencing recommendation by the Washington D.C. Attorney’s Office in the Stone case. Barr also took some heat because his interference in the case came after Trump tweeted his displeasure with the recommended seven to nine year sentence. Stone was found guilty on all seven counts, including lying to Congress and witness tampering, and the sentence was well within the federal guidelines for those crimes.
After Barr intervened, four prosecutors in the Stone case resigned, including one who left the DOJ altogether. On Wednesday, a gleeful Trump took to Twitter and congratulated Barr “for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control.”
But later in the week, Barr denied that his actions in the Stone case had anything to do with Trump’s vocal support of his longtime friend. Barr complained to ABC News that Trump’s tweeting made his job tougher. Trump also denied any involvement, while adding that “as President” he had “the legal right to do so.”
The non-partisan DOJ alumni statement comes on the heels of nine Democratic senators writing a letter to Barr on Friday, calling for him to step down immediately due to his interference in the Stone case.
The letter read, in part, “The shocking actions taken by you or your senior staff to seek special protections for Mr. Stone make a mockery of your responsibilities to seek equal justice under the law and reveal that you are unfit to head the DOJ.”