Former US Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys accused Attorney General William Barr of “weaponizing the DOJ in the service of [Donald] Trump’s personal interests” in an open letter Thursday.
The letter expresses concern that Barr intends to manipulate the DOJ’s law enforcement powers to undermine the November election. The letter states that Barr has hinted at this possibility in numerous ways—falsely suggesting that mail-in ballots are susceptible not only to fraud and coercion, but also interference from foreign hackers. The letter also alleges that Barr will be using the inquiry into Russian interference of the 2016 presidential election to help President Trump’s reelection chances. However, this action is contradictory to a memorandum Barr issued earlier this year where he stated that “the Department has long recognized that it must exercise particular care regarding sensitive investigations and prosecutions that relate to political candidates, campaigns, and other politically sensitive individuals and organizations—especially in an election year.”
Most recently, Barr has criticized career prosecutors for “being insufficiently deferential to the Trump administration and the political leadership at DOJ.” The letter states that Barr’s comments “display a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of career prosecutors and why many of them have openly resisted his interventions on President Trump’s behalf.” Despite political affiliation, members of the DOJ must “uphold the principle of equal justice under the law” when leaders “violate their oath to faithfully execute the law.”