​'We were complicit': Ex-Trump DOJ lawyer deeply regrets working for the president
Attorney General William Barr in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

A former attorney at the Department of Justice under President Donald Trump now regrets her decision to work for him -- and she thinks she could have better served the country by quitting immediately.

Writing in the New York Times, former Office of Legal Counsel attorney Erica Newland explains that she decided to remain at the DOJ after Trump came to power because she thought she could limit the damage he did to American democracy.

In reality, however, she found that her work simply made some of Trump's most odious actions, including the travel ban slapped on multiple Muslim-majority countries, more palatable to courts.

Newland argues that talented attorneys at the DOJ should have resigned en masse at the start of the administration, which would have force the Trump administration to rely on Z-grade legal talents such as Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell to argue its cases before the courts.

"If, early on, the Justice Department lawyers charged with selling the administration's lies had emptied the ranks — withholding our talents and reputations and demanding the same of our professional peers — the work of defending President Trump's policies would have been left to the types of attorneys now representing his campaign," she writes. "Lawyers like Mr. Giuliani would have had to defend the Muslim ban in court."

In the end, Newland can only offer her apologies to America for not doing more to stop Trump's attacks on democracy dead in their tracks.

"No matter our intentions, we were complicit," she writes. "We collectively perpetuated an anti-democratic leader by conforming to his assault on reality. We may have been victims of the system, but we were also its instruments. No matter how much any one of us pushed back from within, we did so as members of a professional class of government lawyers who enabled an assault on our democracy — an assault that nearly ended it."