U.S. Attorney General William Barr is facing new criticism over the Justice Department’s decision to dismiss the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
A letter signed by more than 2,000 former employees of the agency is issuing a public call for Barr’s resignation.
The signers expressed a unified belief that the situation was “extraordinarily rare, if not unprecedented” and demonstrated evidence of political favoritism.
“We would be prosecuted for it”
“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,” the letter reads.
While it is true that Flynn lied to the FBI and later pleaded guilty to a related charge, those who support the Justice Department’s decision point out some facts this letter avoided. Handwritten notes and other documents made public in recent weeks show a conversation some critics have interpreted as an effort to coax Flynn into a lie.
Barr has defended his agency’s decision as one that “upheld the rule of law,” suggesting that Flynn pleaded guilty to something that did not constitute a crime.
“Our duty, we think, is to dismiss the case,” he said. “A crime cannot be established here. They did not have a basis for a counterintelligence investigation against Flynn at that state.”
The letter demanding Barr’s resignation, however, accuses him of protecting the president’s allies.
“I’m doing my duty under the law”
“Attorney General Barr’s repeated actions to use the Department as a tool to further President Trump’s personal and political interests have undermined any claim to the deference that courts usually apply to the Department’s decision about whether or not to prosecute a case,” the letter continued.
In addition to his resignation, the letter seeks a congressional censure against Barr for “his repeated assaults on the rule of law and doing the president’s personal bidding rather than acting in the public interest.”
Of course, the letter acknowledged such a result is unlikely. Nevertheless, Barr has directly addressed the very claim these ex-Justice Department employees put forward. “No, I’m doing the law’s bidding,” he said. “I’m doing my duty under the law, as I see it.”
As many of Barr’s supporters believe, putting a stop to the unfair prosecution of a retired Army lieutenant general like Flynn would fall under that job description.