In an op-ed for The Atlantic this Monday, the former U.S. Deputy Attorney General under George H. W. Bush wrote that the integrity and independence of the Justice Department has been compromised by Attorney General Bill Barr so that President Trump “can operate above the law.”
Donald Ayer points out that when Barr was first chosen to serve as AG by Trump in 2018, he was met with a relative amount of bipartisan approval by many who expected him to “push back on any improper attempt to inject politics into its work.” But when his first year of service came to an end, his conduct has shown that such expectations were misplaced as he “appeared to function much more as the president’s personal advocate than as an attorney general serving the people and government of the United States.”
Compounding his conduct were the events of last week, with Barr’s 11th hour disruption of the “evenhanded conduct of the prosecutions of Roger Stone and Michael Flynn by experienced Department of Justice attorneys.”
“More generally, it appears that Barr has recently identified a group of lawyers who he trusts and put them in place to oversee and second-guess the work of the department’s career attorneys on a broader range of cases,” Ayer writes. “And there is no comfort from any of this in Barr’s recent protests about the president’s tweeting. He in no way suggested he was changing course, only that it is hard appear independent when the president is publicly calling for him to follow the path he is on.”
The problem with Barr, according to Ayer, is that he doesn’t believe in the central tenet of our system of government—that no person is above the law.
“In chilling terms, Barr’s own words make clear his long-held belief in the need for a virtually autocratic executive who is not constrained by countervailing powers within our government under the constitutional system of checks and balances.”
“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. To prevent that, we need a public uprising demanding that Bill Barr resign immediately, or failing that, be impeached,” Ayers writes.
Read his full piece over at The Atlantic.