More than 1,100 former Justice Department officials signed a letter released on Sunday urging Attorney General William Barr to resign in the wake of Barr’s intervention in the sentencing of political operative Roger Stone.
“In this nation, we are all equal before the law. A person should not be given special treatment in a criminal prosecution because they are a close political ally of the President,” the letter reads. “Governments that use the enormous power of law enforcement to punish their enemies and reward their allies are not constitutional republics; they are autocracies.”
The Justice Department originally recommended Stone be sentenced to seven-to-nine years in prison for lying to investigators in the Mueller probe. A senior Justice Department official told NPR that other officials were “shocked” by the recommendation.
Barr intervened to reduce the recommended sentence, but only after President Trump wrote of his outrage regarding the original sentence on Twitter. Trump then praised Barr for “taking charge” of the Stone case.
Barr on Thursday denied that he had intervened in the Stone case at Trump’s direction, and criticized Trump for tweeting about the case.
“I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody,” Barr said in an interview with ABC News. “And I said, whether it’s Congress, newspaper editorial boards, or the president, I’m going to do what I think is right. I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.