More than 1,100 former prosecutors and Justice Department officials signed an open letter to Attorney General William P. Barr slamming him for flouting the long-standing principle that the White House (and its henchmen) should not intervene in specific criminal cases, as appeared to be the case in the Justice Department’s flip-flop on its sentencing recommendation for convicted presidential crony Roger Stone.From the statement we read:
All DOJ lawyers are well-versed in these rules, regulations, and constitutional commands. They stand for the proposition that political interference in the conduct of a criminal prosecution is anathema to the Department’s core mission and to its sacred obligation to ensure equal justice under the law.As of this writing, more than 2,000 DOJ alumni have signed the statement.
And yet, President Trump and Attorney General Barr have openly and repeatedly flouted this fundamental principle, most recently in connection with the sentencing of President Trump’s close associate, Roger Stone, who was convicted of serious crimes. The Department has a long-standing practice in which political appointees set broad policies that line prosecutors apply to individual cases. That practice exists to animate the constitutional principles regarding the even-handed application of the law. Although there are times when political leadership appropriately weighs in on individual prosecutions, it is unheard of for the Department’s top leaders to overrule line prosecutors, who are following established policies, in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the President, as Attorney General Barr did in the Stone case. It is even more outrageous for the Attorney General to intervene as he did here — after the President publicly condemned the sentencing recommendation that line prosecutors had already filed in court.
Such behavior is a grave threat to the fair administration of justice. 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. Governments that use the enormous power of law enforcement to punish their enemies and reward their allies are not constitutional republics; they are autocracies.
And then, more recently, this happened:
A national association of federal judges has called an emergency meeting Tuesday to address growing concerns about the intervention of Justice Department officials and President Donald Trump in politically sensitive cases, the group’s president said Monday.Judge Rufe is a George W Bush appointee, by the way.
Philadelphia U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe, who heads the independent Federal Judges Association, said the group “could not wait” until its spring conference to weigh in on a deepening crisis that has enveloped the Justice Department and Attorney General William Barr.
Oh, and, according to the article, 1,000 federal judges called for the emergency meeting.
Then there's this from Donald Ayer (United States Attorney and Principal Deputy Solicitor General in the Reagan administration and Deputy Attorney General under George H.W. Bush):
Bill Barr’s America is not a place that anyone, including Trump voters, should want to go. It is a banana republic where all are subject to the whims of a dictatorial president and his henchmen. To prevent that, we need a public uprising demanding that Bill Barr resign immediately, or failing that, be impeached.When?