In an extraordinary move, nearly 2,000 former Justice Department and FBI officials on Monday signed an open letter demanding Attorney General William Barr’s resignation over his decision to abandon the prosecution of Michael Flynn, calling the action “unprecedented.” The officials also called on Congress to censure Barr over “his repeated assaults on the rule of law in doing the President’s personal bidding rather than acting in the public interest.”
In the letter, the former officials strongly criticized the Attorney General, saying that “if anyone else who is not a friend of the president were to lie to federal investigators in the course of a properly predicated counterintelligence investigation, and admit we did so under oath, we could be prosecuted.”
Barr directed federal prosecutors to abandon their prosecution of Michael Flynn, who served briefly as national security adviser in the early days of the Trump administration. Flynn admitted that he had lied to the FBI about his conversations during the transition with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.
The letter urges the judge who is in charge of the Flynn case, Emmet Sullivan, to “take a long, hard look at the government’s explanation and the evidence.” Barr is using the Justice Department to further President Donald Trump’s personal and political interests, it says, and “has undermined any claim to the deference that courts usually apply to the department’s decisions about whether or not to prosecute a case.”
The signers are former career lawyers from both Republican and Democratic administrations.