The letter is in response to the attorney general's decision to drop the case against Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
Nearly 2,000 former Department of Justice officials signed a letter on Monday calling for Attorney General William Barr to resign over his decision to drop the case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Because the signatories of the letter — including multiple former United States attorneys — said it's unlikely Barr will resign, they also called on Congress to punish Barr for dropping the case against Flynn, which they said was an assault on the rule of law.
"We also call upon Congress to formally censure Attorney General Barr for his repeated assaults on the rule of law in doing the President's personal bidding rather than acting in the public interest," the letter reads. "Our democracy depends on a Department of Justice that acts as an independent arbiter of equal justice, not as an arm of the president's political apparatus."
Barr last week confirmed the Justice Department was dropping a case against Flynn that stemmed from the Russia investigation. Flynn was charged with lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador, which Flynn himself pleaded guilty to.
In the filing seeking to drop the case against Flynn, the department said the FBI's interview with Flynn was "conducted without any legitimate investigative basis."
Barr defended that decision in an interview with CBS News.
"We feel really that a crime cannot be established here because there was not, in our view, a legitimate investigation going on," Barr said.
But former acting assistant attorney general for national security Mary McCord — who is cited in the filing to justify the decision to drop the case — said in an op-ed in the New York Times that the Justice Department "twist[ed] my words."
"The report of my interview is no support for Mr. Barr’s dismissal of the Flynn case," McCord wrote in the op-ed. "It does not suggest that the F.B.I. had no counterintelligence reason for investigating Mr. Flynn. It does not suggest that the F.B.I.’s interview of Mr. Flynn — which led to the false-statements charge — was unlawful or unjustified."
This is not the first time this group of former Justice Department officials has called on Barr to resign.
In February, the former officials called Barr a "grave threat" to the country, after Barr intervened in the sentencing of Roger Stone, the longtime Trump ally who was convicted on seven counts of obstruction of justice. Barr overruled the career prosecutors on the case to ask for a lighter sentence for Stone — leading those prosecutors to resign in protest.
"Governments that use the enormous power of law enforcement to punish their enemies and reward their allies are not constitutional republics; they are autocracies," the former officials wrote in February.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.