Nearly 2,000 Former DOJ Officials Call For Barr’s Resignation Over Flynn Case
ABC News reports that as of May 11, nearly 2,000 people who describe themselves as “alumni of the United States Department of Justice” have signed a letter that calls for Attorney General William Barr to resign from his position because of his “political interference in the Department’s law enforcement decisions” and his “doing the President’s personal bidding rather than acting in the public interest.”
- In the first week of May 2020, the Department of Justice moved to drop charges against Michael Flynn, President Donald J. Trump’s former national security adviser. Flynn had previously twice pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigations about his communications with the former Russian ambassador during Trump’s presidential transition.
- The Protect Democracy Project, a 501(c)(3) group, organized the alumni’s letter. This is the second letter that a group of former Department of Justice employees has signed condemning Barr’s actions as attorney general.
- In an interview with CBS, Barr denied “doing the President’s bidding” and said, “I'm doing the law's bidding. I'm doing my duty under the law, as I see it.”
- On April 30, Trump tweeted, “What happened to General Michael Flynn, a war hero, should never be allowed to happen to a citizen of the United States again!”
The alumni’s letter states that
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 decisions about whether or not to prosecute a case
Barr has denied these accusations. In his CBS News interview, he asserted that the decision to drop charges against Flynn was based on new evidence and had nothing to do with Trump.
…in January, General Flynn moved to withdraw his plea, and also alleged misconduct by the government. And at that time, I asked a very seasoned U.S. attorney, who had spent ten years as an FBI agent and ten years as a career prosecutor… to come in and take a fresh look at this whole case. And he found some additional material… he came in and briefed me and made a recommendation that we dismiss the case, which I fully agreed with.
The Department of Justice’s filing to move for dropping charges against Flynn claims that the investigation into Flynn was illegitimate. Barr said in the CBS interview that the case lacked “materiality.”
Mary McCord was the acting assistant Attorney General for National Security during the time of the Russia investigations, and some of her reports were used in the filing to support this claim that Flynn’s statements did not constitute material falsehoods. However, in an op-ed for the New York Times, McCord wrote, “Barr twisted my words.”
McCord said, “The report of my interview is no support for Mr. Barr’s dismissal of the Flynn case… it does not support the Justice Department’s assertion that the continued prosecution of the case against Mr. Flynn, who pleaded guilty to knowingly making material false statements to the FBI, ‘would not serve the interests of justice.’”
Jonathon Kravis, a career prosecutor who resigned from the Department of Justice after Barr intervened in Roger Stone’s sentencing, also criticized Barr’s actions in an op-ed. Writing for the Washington Post, Kravis called Barr’s move to drop charges against Flynn “appalling” and said, “If the department truly acted because of good-faith commitments to legal positions, then where is the evidence of those commitments in other cases that do not involve friends of the president?”