Will There Be an Investigation of U.S. Attorney General Barr?
WASHINGTON – A Washington-based advocacy group for government ethics is asking the Justice Department to investigate the U.S. attorney general for his statements about the criminal conviction of an associate of President Donald Trump.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington says Attorney General William Barr violated Justice Department rules intended to prevent bias.
He oversaw a Justice Department recommendation for a reduced sentence of Roger Stone, the former Trump campaign political consultant who was convicted in November on seven counts, including witness tampering and lying to investigators. Stone awaits sentencing.
The charges resulted from the Mueller Report and Special Counsel investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential campaign.
The Justice Department prosecutors originally recommended to the federal judge that Stone be sentenced to seven to nine years in prison. A subsequent sentencing memorandum said the Justice Department “defers to the Court” on a sentence.
The memorandum also cautioned that the original seven-to-nine year recommendation “could be considered excessive and unwarranted.”
Barr’s new recommendation prompted the entire prosecutorial team to resign in protest.
In addition, more than 1,100 former prosecutors and Justice Department officials signed an open letter to Barr criticizing him for ignoring the rule that White House officials not intervene in criminal cases.
“Such behavior is a grave threat to the fair administration of justice,” the letter says. “In this nation, we are all equal before the law. A person should not be given special treatment in a criminal prosecution because they are a close political ally of the President.”
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is increasing pressure on Barr with a complaint filed with the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.
“Attorney General Barr’s prejudicial statements further appear to be part of a pattern of conduct,” the complaint says.
Previously, Barr implied that he agreed with Trump’s claims the FBI spied on his presidential campaign. He also appeared to seek leniency in the prosecution of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“Since the beginning of his tenure at the Department of Justice, Attorney General Barr has operated more as the president’s personal attorney than as the country’s chief law enforcement officer,” Noah Bookbinder, director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said in a statement.
Additional calls for an investigation of Barr are coming from Democrats in Congress. Some want him to resign.
Meanwhile, other Justice Department attorneys in its Washington, D.C. office are reportedly considering resigning in protest.
Justice Department officials deny political meddling in their decision last week to revise their sentence recommendation for Stone. He is scheduled for sentencing Thursday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Barr responded to the firestorm of criticism last week in an interview with ABC News. He denied that Trump has ever asked him to influence a criminal case.
“I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody … whether it’s Congress, a newspaper editorial board, or the president,” Barr said. “I’m going to do what I think is right. And you know … I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”
He spoke out against Trump’s sometimes flamboyant tweets in defense of his former associates who faced prosecution. Barr said the tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job.”
He added, “I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.”
In The News
In The News
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In Florida, Republican lawmakers have introduced a bevy of new legislation that will, if passed, restrict certain... Read More
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In Florida, Republican lawmakers have introduced a bevy of new legislation that will, if passed, restrict certain health educational materials used in state schools. One such bill, House Bill 1069, would limit children below sixth grade from discussing their menstrual cycles in school. ... Read More
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — It almost seems here in Washington that the debate over energy, over the future of fossil... Read More
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — It almost seems here in Washington that the debate over energy, over the future of fossil fuels versus renewables, never changes. Most everyone these days will advocate for an “all of the above” solution to meet the nation’s future energy needs and... Read More
WASHINGTON — A bill introduced in the Senate last week would require the Supreme Court to televise its hearings. Senators... Read More
WASHINGTON — A bill introduced in the Senate last week would require the Supreme Court to televise its hearings. Senators who introduced the bill said it would help to ensure transparency and better public understanding of how the court operates. “Rulings made by justices in our... Read More
RAVENSWOOD, W. Va. — Like a lot of communities in America’s heartland, Jackson County, West Virginia, was built on natural... Read More
RAVENSWOOD, W. Va. — Like a lot of communities in America’s heartland, Jackson County, West Virginia, was built on natural resources. Timber and energy wrought from the ground helped sustain and grow its population, and the arrival of manufacturing in the mid-1950s — in the guise... Read More
WASHINGTON — The chief executive of social media app and website TikTok endured five hours of withering accusations in Congress... Read More
WASHINGTON — The chief executive of social media app and website TikTok endured five hours of withering accusations in Congress Thursday that his company acted as the alter ego of the Chinese government and failed to protect children from harmful video content. Several times the lawmakers... Read More
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — It’s not a conference so much as a dream factory that’s transpiring through Friday on the... Read More
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — It’s not a conference so much as a dream factory that’s transpiring through Friday on the shores of the Potomac River. Now in its 13th year, the ARPA-E Innovation Summit is a three-day program of lectures, networking events and exhibition hall displays... Read More