Oct 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

20 Republican former U.S. attorneys endorse Biden, call Trump "a threat to the rule of law"

Picture of Donald Trump whispering to Attorney General William Barr.

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Twenty Republican former U.S. attorneys on Tuesday endorsed Joe Biden while saying that "President Trump's leadership is a threat to the rule of law" in the U.S., the Washington Post reports.

What they're saying: In the letter, the former prosecutors criticize Trump's use of the Department of Justice, saying the president expects the DOJ "to serve his personal and political interests."

  • "He has politicized the Justice Department, dictating its priorities along political lines and breaking down the barrier that prior administrations had maintained between political and prosecutorial decision making," the letter says.
  • The letter adds that Trump "undermined the Department’s ability to unify and lead our nation’s law enforcement by picking political fights with state and local officials in a naked effort to demonize and blame them for the disturbances in our cities over the past several months."
  • "Although we were political appointees, it was expected that politics would play no role in the exercise of our prosecutorial discretion and that we would make decisions according to the facts and law and without regard to their political implications."

Why it matters: Trump has been losing support from major Republican figures since the beginning of the year. The 20 former prosecutors, all of whom were appointed by and served under a Republican president, are the latest group to throw their support behind Biden.

Of note: The current DOJ received criticism for what career prosecutors have called "politicized decision-making," per the Washington Post.

  • In February, the DOJ recommended a reduced prison sentence for Roger Stone, a former Trump campaign adviser who was found guilty in November on seven counts related to his attempts to learn more about when WikiLeaks would publish damaging emails about Hillary Clinton.
  • In May, the DOJ withdrew charges against Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in 2017 and was fired from the White House for lying to Vice President Mike Pence.
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