Phillip Halpern, an Assistant U.S. Attorney who worked in the Department of Justice for more than three decades and under “19 different attorneys general and six different presidents,” called it quits this week after claiming that he had enough of Attorney General Bill Barr’s “slavish obedience to Donald Trump’s will.”
Halpern wrote in an op-ed for the San Diego Union-Tribune on Wednesday that Barr is a “well-trained bureaucrat” and a “career bureaucrat” who “seems determined to turn our democracy into an autocracy.”
In the op-ed titled, “I won’t work in Attorney General William Barr’s Justice Department any longer,” Halpern painted a picture of Barr, a person who has “never actually investigated, charged or tried a case,” pulling the strings of the criminal justice system in order to help Trump and his allies.
Halpern said he had hoped that Barr’s “preemptive misrepresentation” of the Mueller Report was “an honest mistake or a solitary misstep — rather than a deliberate attempt to conceal potential presidential misconduct.” He does not have those hopes now.
“Unfortunately, over the last year, Barr’s resentment toward rule-of-law prosecutors became increasingly difficult to ignore, as did his slavish obedience to Donald Trump’s will in his selective meddling with the criminal justice system in the Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn and Roger Stone cases,” he wrote. “In each of these cases, Barr overruled career prosecutors in order to assist the president’s associates and/or friends, who potentially harbor incriminating information.”
The longtime prosecutor concluded that there is also “no other honest explanation for Barr’s parroting” of President Donald Trump’s “wild and unsupported conspiracy theories regarding mail-in ballots […].”
“Rather than representing the interests of the American public, Barr chooses to act as Trump’s lap dog,” Halpern wrote, turning his attention to the government “assault” on Lafayette Square protesters before the president’s photo op with a Bible. Halpern took shots at the John Durham investigation, saying it is nothing more than a “quixotic pursuit designed to attack the president’s political rivals.”
In closing, Halpern said he was disturbed that it has gotten to the point that longtime federal prosecutors like himself are “abandoning Barr’s ship” and many “qualified lawyers” are refusing to board it.
You can read the entire op-ed HERE.