Holder rips into William Barr: 'He is unfit to lead the Justice Department'

Former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderBig stimulus packages required, but they risk political blowback Trump's DOJ makes a case for civil rights for the unborn Trump defends rhetoric: 'When they hit us we have to hit back' MORE delivered a blistering assessment of the current head of the Department of Justice, arguing that William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrStates should plan now for November voting options Democratic Senators urge FTC to prevent coronavirus price gouging Maduro pushes back on DOJ charges, calls Trump 'racist cowboy' MORE has lost his reputation as a "respected lawyer" and that he is "unfit" to serve in his position. 

"Virtually since the moment he took office ... Barr’s words and actions have been fundamentally inconsistent with his duty to the Constitution," Holder, who served as attorney general between 2009 and 2015 during the Obama administration, writes in a Washington Post op-ed. "Which is why I now fear that his conduct — running political interference for an increasingly lawless president — will wreak lasting damage."

Holder, an outspoken critic of President TrumpDonald John TrumpHealth insurers Cigna, Humana waive out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus treatment Puerto Rico needs more federal help to combat COVID-19 Fauci says April 30 extension is 'a wise and prudent decision' MORE, opens the column by arguing that Barr's recent public statements and actions warranted a response because of how "nakedly partisan" and "deeply inappropriate" they were. Holder singles out Barr for a speech he gave at a Federalist Society event last month, asserting that it essentially served as an ode to "unbridled executive power."

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"When, in the same speech, Barr accused 'the other side' of 'the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law,' he exposed himself as a partisan actor, not an impartial law enforcement official," Holder writes, adding that other comments from Barr indicated that the attorney general is willing to "serve as an instrument of politics — under the direct 'control' of Trump."

Holder later expresses dismay over Barr's statement this week pushing back against a Justice Department inspector general report that found FBI agents were not motivated by political bias when they launched investigations into associates of Trump's campaign in 2016.

Holder said he "found it extraordinary to watch the nation’s chief law enforcement official claim — without offering any evidence — that the FBI acted in 'bad faith.'" Barr made the comments in an interview with NBC following the report's release. Among other contentions, Barr also reiterated his claim that Trump's campaign was "spied" on. 

"As someone who spent six years in the office Barr now occupies, it was infuriating to watch him publicly undermine an independent inspector general report — based on an exhaustive review of the FBI’s conduct — using partisan talking points bearing no resemblance to the facts his own department has uncovered," Holder writes. 

"The American people deserve an attorney general who serves their interests, leads the Justice Department with integrity and can be entrusted to pursue the facts and the law," he concludes. "William Barr has proved he is incapable of serving as such an attorney general."

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Holder has been outspoken in his opposition of the Trump administration's policies over the last few years. Earlier this week, he urged Justice Department and FBI officials to "stay strong" in wake of the release of the inspector general's report. 

"The era of Trump and Barr will pass—their slander, insults and lies will end," he said in a tweet. "We respect & believe in you."