Heather Cox Richardson publishing a very damning story about Barr last night. Although I have included a link to the entire article below, the key points are listed below:
Today the politicization of the United States Department of Justice was on the table in Congress.
Barr took office on February 14, 2019.
On March 22, Barr notified Congress that Mueller’s investigation was complete, and on March 24, wrote a letter claiming that Mueller’s report exonerated the president and his team. In fact, the report established that the Russian government had illegally intervened in the election to benefit Trump, and that the campaign “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.” Mueller wrote to Barr saying that his letter “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the Report. But on April 18, Barr held a press conference in which he said that Mueller cleared the president of “collusion” with the Russians. (“Collusion” is not a legal term, and Mueller said explicitly that they did not look at it.)
Barr’s undermining of the Mueller investigation continued in late January 2020, when Trump offered a new job in the Treasury Department to the U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C., Jessie Liu, who had overseen the prosecution of Roger Stone, a friend and former advisor to the president.
In her place, Barr put his counsellor Timothy Shea, who was now in a position to oversee a number of the cases begun under Mueller, including those of Stone and Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Within days, Shea undermined the Stone case. On Monday, February 10, DOJ prosecutors wrote to Judge Amy Berman Jackson recommending 7 to 9 years of jail time-- standard department guidelines. Immediately after the sentencing recommendation, Trump tweeted that it was “horrible and unfair” and a “miscarriage of justice.” The DOJ then reversed itself, saying its own prosecutors had failed to be “reasonable.”
In response, all four of the federal prosecutors responsible for Stone’s case withdrew from it, including Aaron S.J. Zelinsky, who had worked on Mueller’s team. The administration promptly withdrew Liu’s nomination for the Treasury Department position, suggesting it was offered simply to get her out of the US Attorney office.
More than 1100 former DOJ officials called for Barr to resign over his handling of the Stone case, accusing him of politicizing the DOJ and undermining the rule of law.
Last weekend, Barr tried to remove and replace the interim US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, falsely saying Geoffrey Berman had resigned. Today more than 80% of the faculty at George Washington University Law School where Barr got his law degree called for Barr’s resignation in the wake of that attempt.
Also today, two attorneys from the DOJ testified before the House Judiciary Committee, saying that the DOJ has become dangerously politicized. John W. Elias, a whistleblower from the Antitrust Division of the DOJ, told Congress that Barr personally ordered investigations of industries that he or the president disliked, even though there was no legal reason to do so.(sounds like Nixon's "enemy list ", doesn't it?)
Zelinsky, now an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, explained what had happened back in February.
When Zelinsky threatened to withdraw, he and his colleagues were allowed to file a correct sentencing memorandum. As soon as the sentencing recommendation went out, however, the president tweeted that the sentence was unfair, and the DOJ wrote a new memo asking for a lighter sentence. Zelinsky withdrew from the case, “because following orders would have violated the oath I swore when I took my job,” he said.
This was a message the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee did not want to hear—literally. They tried to disrupt the proceedings. First Jim Jordan (R-OH) objected that witnesses could not testify over video. Then, after witness Donald Ayer said “I believe that William Barr poses the greatest threat in my lifetime to our rule of law,” Louie Gohmert (R-TX) began tapping on the microphone to drown out the witnesses.
In an article in February, just after the Stone sentencing crisis, Ayer warned that Barr "is working to destroy the integrity and independence of the Justice Department, in order to make Donald Trump a president who can operate above the law.... Bill Barr’s America is not a place that anyone, including Trump voters, should want to go. It is a banana republic where all are subject to the whims of a dictatorial president and his henchmen."