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February 16, 2020

Over 1000 former DOJ employees calling for Attorney General William Barr to resign

As this Politico piece details, "more than 1,100 former Justice Department employees have signed an online petition pressing Attorney General Bill Barr to resign and commending the four prosecutors who withdrew from the Roger Stone case."  In this context, I am tempted to make a sour joke that it would seem that AG Barr's eagerness to recommend a below-guideline sentence for a non-violent first offender finally  crossed a line in the sand in the eyes of all these former DOJ employees.  But, of course, this controversy has much more to do with political interference rather than with sentencing decision-making (although I recall few took note when DOJ decided to seek the death penalty in a high-profile New York case after Prez Trump tweeted they should).

Here is more from the Politico piece about the online petition (which is available here and it still seeking signatures):

Last week, all four prosecutors quit the Stone case after what they perceived as interference from the White House.  The prosecutors had recommended a seven- to nine-year prison sentence after Stone — President Donald Trump’s longtime friend — was convicted of lying to Congress and of obstruction....

Barr and other top officials then pushed for a softer prison recommendation in a revised filing that offered no specific sentence term, though the attorney general has said he didn’t speak to the president about it.  The sentencing is set for Thursday, though the judge has set a conference call with the lawyers in the case for Tuesday.

“Such behavior is a grave threat to the fair administration of justice.  In this nation, we are all equal before the law.  A person should not be given special treatment in a criminal prosecution because they are a close political ally of the President,” the online petition read. Signatures for the letter were gathered by Protect Democracy, a nonprofit legal group that had also gathered signatures for a letter claiming the Mueller report presented enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of justice. That letter was also critical of Barr.

The petition's signatories include Justice Department employees dating back to the administrations of President Dwight Eisenhower and President John F. Kennedy, though most are of more recent vintage.  Among them are three who served as assistant attorney general: Sanford Litvack, Jimmy Gurule and Laurie Robinson. The current total is 1,143, though Protect Democracy said it would continue to add names.

The former Justice Department employees welcomed Barr’s “belated acknowledgment that the DOJ’s law enforcement decisions must be independent of politics.”  On Thursday, Barr had offered a rare rebuke of his boss, telling ABC, "I think it's time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.”

However, the online petition read, “Mr. 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.” 

Since they said they had little expectation Barr would actually step down, the former employees called on the Justice Department’s career officials to report unethical conduct.  They applauded the prosecutors for upholding their oaths and standing up for the department’s independence.  “We call on every DOJ employee to follow their heroic example and 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 — in a manner consistent with professional ethics — to the American people the reasons for their resignation.”

Prior related posts:

UPDATE: One notable former DOJ employee, namely Donald Ayer, former Deputy AG for Prez George H. W. Bush, has this notable new extended Atlantic piece under the full headline "Bill Barr Must Resign: The attorney general is working to destroy the integrity and independence of the Justice Department, in order to make Donald Trump a president who can operate above the law."

February 16, 2020 at 03:22 PM | Permalink


What Trump is doing is slicker than slick, I've never seen anything like it. He speaks truth to power when he is the one in power! It allows him to look tough without having to actually be tough and drives his enemies mad. As this letter shows, Trump derangement syndrome is a real thing.

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 16, 2020 10:08:41 PM

"Independent of politics?" Like using the DNC-funded Steele dossier to go after Republicans, while knowing that it was fake, and not telling the FISA court that it was DNC-funded? Good grief.

Posted by: William C Jockusch | Feb 17, 2020 9:28:53 AM

Where is this list of 1,000 sanctimonious morons? A sentence of more than 30 months is absurd. A prosecutor who asks for 87-108 months should be removed and send packing. Back to Hillary's breast to suckle with John Brennan, et al.

The proposed piling on of enhancements is almost per se over the top.

AG Barr is a bright man of honor. The 1,000 former whatevers are just political hacks.

Posted by: Diogenes | Feb 17, 2020 5:02:42 PM

That former AUSA's speak out is worth very little. What we need are current AUSA's to do so.

Posted by: anon | Feb 19, 2020 10:26:52 AM

These people should be exiled to Liberia. They don't understand or support the Constitution. They are aliens who have no reason to be here. They should be outed and ostracized.

Posted by: restless94110 | Feb 19, 2020 2:05:46 PM

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