More than 1,100 ex-Justice Department officials call for Barr's resignation
More than 1,100 former Justice Department employees signed a public letter Sunday urging Attorney General William Barr to resign over his handling of the case of President Donald Trump's longtime friend Roger Stone - and exhorted current department employees to report any unethical conduct.
The letter is the latest sign of a crisis of confidence inside the department. Four prosecutors quit the Stone case last week after Barr and other Justice Department leaders pushed for a softer prison recommendation for Stone, who is due to be sentenced this week.
The four prosecutors had originally recommended a prison sentence of seven to nine years for Stone after he was convicted of lying to Congress and obstruction. The president publicly attacked that recommendation, and at Barr's urging the Justice Department filed an updated sentencing memo suggesting Stone should receive less prison time.
Barr has said he did not talk to the president about the Stone sentence, but current and former Justice Department officials have sharply criticized the attorney general.
"Mr. Barr's actions in doing the President's personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words," the Justice Department alumni wrote in the letter posted online. "Those actions, and the damage they have done to the Department of Justice's reputation for integrity and the rule of law, require Mr. Barr to resign."
Signatures for the letter were gathered by Protect Democracy, a group that has been critical of Barr's handling of special counsel Robert Mueller III's investigation into Russian election interference and Trump.
The letter acknowledges there is little chance the signatories' criticism will lead to Barr's departure, adding, "because we have little expectation he will do so, it falls to the Department's career officials to take appropriate action to uphold their oaths of office and defend nonpartisan, apolitical justice."
The letter calls on every Justice Department employee to follow the "heroic" example of the four prosecutors who quit the Stone case "and be prepared to report future abuses to the Inspector General, the Office of Professional Responsibility, and Congress; to refuse to carry out directives that are inconsistent with their oaths of office; to withdraw from cases that involve such directives or other misconduct; and, if necessary, to resign and report publicly - in a manner consistent with professional ethics - to the American people the reasons for their resignation."
The letter calls for similar vigilance in other government agencies, adding, "The rule of law and the survival of our Republic demand nothing less."
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.
In an interview Thursday with ABC News, Barr said Trump's commentary makes it "impossible for me to do my job."
Stories that may interest you
When precious vats of COVID-19 vaccine are finally ready, the ability to jab the lifesaving solution into the arms of Americans will require hundreds of millions of injections
Texas has surpassed 10,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients for the first time
At least 150 Minneapolis police officers say they are suffering from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or other injuries resulting from the protests that broke out after George Floyd's death, and they have started the process of filing disability claims that could allow them to permanently...
A white woman facing criminal charges after she was captured on video pulling a handgun on an unarmed Black woman and her daughters outside a Michigan restaurant says she feared for her life