Attorney General William Barr was blasted by former DOJ prosecutors after announcing a controversial choice of recipients of the Department of Justice’s distinguished service award.
“The Justice Department will present one of its most prestigious awards to the lawyers who worked on the highly contentious Supreme Court nomination process of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh,” Katie Benner reported for The New York Times on Friday evening. “Next month, Attorney General William P. Barr will present the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service to those who worked ‘to support the nomination’ of the judge, according to an email reviewed by The New York Times.”
“Typically, the distinguished service honor, the department’s second-highest, is given to employees who worked on significant prosecutions, rather than on judicial nomination processes,” Benner reported.
That decision was blasted by former federal prosecutors.
“What a joke,” tweeted former Assistant U.S. Attorney Elie Honig, who served in the Southern District of New York for eight years and is a CNN legal analyst.
“This prestigious award typically goes to prosecutors who make the biggest cases against terrorists, corrupt politicians, drug cartels, organized crime enterprises, etc.” Honig explained. “And now AG Barr is using it to honor… Team Kavanaugh.”
That view was shared by Mimi Rocah, a legal analyst at rival network MSNBC.
“Barr politicizes everything. Even prestigious awards,” explained Rocah, who also served as a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York.
“My 11-year old daughter managed these words ‘So, basically he gave the award to some people who got some guy he supported a job,'” Rocah noted.
Jaimie Nawady, who was also an SDNY prosecutor, had harsh words.
“Astonishing and wrong. This is not the purpose of DOJ awards. There is no precedent for this,” Nawady said.
“When they go low … they go even lower!” former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade tweeted.
“Rule of leadership – reward what you value. This award shows us what Barr values,” McQuade noted.
Former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne also blasted Barr’s actions during a Friday evening interview with MSNBC’s Brian Williams.