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More than 1,100 former Justice Department officials who have served both Republican and Democratic administrations have signed onto a statement condemning Attorney General Bill Barr's intervention in the sentencing of President Trump's associate Roger Stone, arguing that his actions "require" him to resign.
The big picture: Barr is facing widespread condemnation from Democrats for taking a hands-on role in a number of politically sensitive investigations, including the Stone case, a review of the origins of the Russia probe, and most recently the prosecution of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
- Barr's conduct, in tandem with Trump's insistence that he has a "legal right" to ask the attorney general to intervene in criminal cases, has prompted a number of Democrats to call for his resignation.
- In an interview with ABC News last week, Barr said that he would not "bullied or influenced" by anyone, including the president, and that Trump's tweets about Justice Department cases "make it impossible" for him to do his job.
Details: The statement notes that all DOJ employees took an oath to apply the law "equally to all Americans" and that the department's rulebook states that its legal decisions "must be impartial and insulated from political influence."
- "All DOJ lawyers are well-versed in these rules, regulations, and constitutional commands. They stand for the proposition that political interference in the conduct of a criminal prosecution is anathema to the Department’s core mission and to its sacred obligation to ensure equal justice under the law."
- "And yet, President Trump and Attorney General Barr have openly and repeatedly flouted this fundamental principle, most recently in connection with the sentencing of President Trump’s close associate, Roger Stone, who was convicted of serious crimes."
- "We welcome Attorney General Barr’s belated acknowledgment that the DOJ’s law enforcement decisions must be independent of politics; that it is wrong for the President to interfere in specific enforcement matters, either to punish his opponents or to help his friends; and that the President’s public comments on DOJ matters have gravely damaged the Department’s credibility."
The department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.