Nearly 2,000 former officials of the Department of Justice have signed an open letter calling for the resignation of Attorney General William Barr for his “assault” on the rule of law in moving to drop charges against President Donald Trump’s ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn.
The letter also calls on Congress to formally censure Barr for manipulating the law to do the president’s “personal bidding rather than acting in the public interest.”
The striking response by attorneys who have served in both Democratic and Republican administrations was triggered by Barr’s move last week to drop federal charges against Flynn. Flynn had already pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his secret talks with former Russian ambassador and reputed spymaster Sergey Kislyak after Trump won office. The talks were ongoing after the Kremlin interfered in the election, U.S. intelligence investigators determined. There were suspicions of possible payback from Trump officials to the Russians who wanted Obama administration sanctions dropped.
The letter urges the judge in charge of Flynn’s case, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, to “take a long, hard look at the government’s explanation and the evidence” before agreeing to drop the case as Barr uses his power “to further President Trump’s personal and political interests.”
“The Department’s action is extraordinarily rare, if not unprecedented,” the letter declares. “If any of us, or anyone reading this statement who is not a friend of the President, were to lie to federal investigators in the course of a properly predicated counterintelligence investigation, and admit we did so under oath, we would be prosecuted for it.”
It concludes: “Our democracy depends on a Department of Justice that acts as an independent arbiter of equal justice, not as an arm of the president’s political apparatus.”
You can read the entire letter here.