More than 1,100 former Justice Department (DOJ) officials are calling for Attorney General William Barr to resign in the wake of the DOJ’s decision to ask for a shorter prison sentence for Roger Stone, a longtime ally and friend of President Trump.
“Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words,” the group of ex-officials wrote in a letter shared on Sunday by Protect Democracy, a nonprofit advocacy group. “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 public statement arrived as Barr and the Justice Department face increased scrutiny over their actions in the Stone case. Four prosecutors resigned from the case last week and one left the job altogether after Barr and other DOJ leaders asked for a lighter prison sentence than the one the frontline prosecutors initially recommended.
The former officials condemned Trump and Barr for repeatedly flouting principles based on an “evenhanded administration of justice,” saying that the Stone case was just the latest example.
“Such behavior is a grave threat to the fair administration of justice,” they write. “A person should not be given special treatment in a criminal prosecution because they are a close political ally of the President.”
The statement acknowledges that it is unlikely Barr will follow their request for him to resign. Instead, the former officials write that the burden falls on “career officials to take appropriate action to uphold their oaths of office and defend nonpartisan, apolitical justice.”
They then call on current officials to follow the “heroic example” set by the prosecutors who resigned from Stone’s case. Stone’s trial stemmed from crimes unearthed by former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference.
“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… to the American people the reasons for their resignation,” the statement reads.
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