The attorney general of the United States has an obligation to recuse himself from any Department of Justice matters stemming from the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine, the New York City Bar Association said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has a unique role in safeguarding the rule of law under the Constitution. By failing to recuse himself from DOJ’s review of the Ukraine Matter, Attorney General William P. Barr has undermined that role,” the statement read.
The group warned Barr may need to be impeached and removed from office if he does not recuse himself.
“To help remedy that failure, the New York City Bar Association urges that Mr. Barr recuse himself from any ongoing or future review by DOJ of Ukraine-related issues in which Mr. Barr is allegedly involved. If he fails to do so, he should resign or, failing that, be subject to sanctions, including possible removal, by Congress,” the group argued.
“His actions during his brief tenure in office have demonstrated to us that, contrary to the responsibilities of his office, he appears to view his primary obligation as loyalty to the President individually rather than to the nation. In serving the President, he has been willing to take or countenance actions that are contrary to the professional standards of the DOJ, his oath of office and his own obligations as an attorney,” the statement read.
“Mr. Barr also was specifically mentioned by the President as a participant in the activity under investigation. Moreover, he appears to have participated in the DOJ review of the whistleblower’s complaint and its decision not to forward that complaint to Congress. That he failed to recuse himself from that review, and still has not yet (to our knowledge) recused himself from any ongoing DOJ review of other aspects of the Ukraine Matter, is a serious violation of his obligation to protect the DOJ from reasonable questions as to its impartiality in the investigation of the Ukraine Matter,” the group added.
The group was hopeful that Barr would recuse himself.
“We hope that Mr. Barr will act promptly to remedy, at least in part, his prior failure to recuse himself from the Ukraine Matter. If, however, he chooses not to do so, we believe he must resign his position as Attorney General. If he fails either to recuse himself or to resign, Mr. Barr should be subject to appropriate Congressional sanctions, including possible removal from office, in order to restore the Office of the Attorney General and the DOJ to their historic roles as defender of the law on behalf of the American people,” the statement concluded.