In a blunt-speaking column for the Daily Beast, former U.S Attorney Barbara McQuade hammered Attorney General Bill Barr for abusing his position and twisting the law to defend Donald Trump. saying he is indulging in an "astonishing abuse of power."
Noting his comments earlier in the week that the U.S.would become “irrevocably committed to the socialist path” if President Trump should lose in November, McQuade said she was appalled that the top Justice Department official would blatantly campaign for the president.
Case in point, she noted Barr's speech on Wednesday where he attacked states with restrictive coronavirus mandates as the "greatest intrusion on civil liberties" in American history "other than slavery" and stated that “the Attorney General, senior DOJ officials, and U.S. Attorneys are indeed political. But they are political in a good and necessary sense.”
According to McQuade, "Those are words no honest prosecutor will ever hang on their wall."
"If all he were doing as attorney general was assuring even-handed application of the laws, no one would take issue. But Barr conflates political accountability with partisan political favoritism," she wrote before pointing out that the two cases he has inserted himself into involve close Trump allies Roger Stone and Michael Flynn.
Particularly galling to McQuade, was Barr's rationale for overriding career prosecutors by diminishing their expertise.
With Barr stating, "Letting the most junior members set the agenda might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it’s no way to run a federal agency,” the ex-U.S. Attorney blasted the current AG.
"There is nothing 'junior' about the career prosecutors who are making case decisions in the Flynn, Stone, and Durham investigations. Prosecutors handling cases of this magnitude are seasoned veterans, who have worked across Republican and Democratic administrations, participated in countless training programs, and are subject to DOJ ethics rules and state bar discipline. Their supervisors are also career professionals," she wrote. "When Barr intervened to the benefit of allies of Trump, deviating from normal DOJ practice, this was not simply the evenhanded administration of justice. It was partisan political favoritism. And when the AG pressures a prosecutor to produce results before the election, in violation of DOJ policy that prohibits taking action to influence an election, he is abusing his power as our nation’s chief law enforcement officer. It is this gross misconduct that has prompted career prosecutors to resign."
McQuade concluded by warning, "The real danger is that Barr is undermining the credibility of prosecutors to take on politically fraught crimes. By excoriating prosecutors against 'the criminalization of politics,' he is giving Trump and his associates the green light to violate the law with impunity."
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