Over 1,100 ex-Justice Dept officials call on Barr to resign for doing Trump's 'bidding'

More than 1,100 former Department of Justice (DOJ) officials are calling for Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrDemocratic Senators urge FTC to prevent coronavirus price gouging Maduro pushes back on DOJ charges, calls Trump 'racist cowboy' DOJ charges Venezuela's Maduro with drug trafficking MORE to resign in the wake of the DOJ's decision to ask for a shorter prison sentence for Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneHouse Judiciary Committee postpones hearing with Barr amid coronavirus outbreak Trump 'strongly considering' full pardon for Flynn We're talking past one another: A lesson Democrats must understand MORE, a longtime ally and friend of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump orders US troops back to active duty for coronavirus response Trump asserts power to decide info inspector general for stimulus gives Congress Fighting a virus with the wrong tools MORE

"Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words," the group of ex-officials wrote in a letter shared on Sunday by Protect Democracy, a nonprofit watchdog group. "Those actions, and the damage they have done to the Department of Justice’s reputation for integrity and the rule of law, require Mr. Barr to resign."

The public statement arrived as Barr and the Justice Department face increased scrutiny over their actions in the Stone case. Four prosecutors resigned from the case last week, and one left the job altogether after Barr and other DOJ leaders asked for a lighter prison sentence than the one the front-line prosecutors initially recommended. 

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The prosecution team had initially told the judge that Stone should serve seven to nine years in prison for lying to Congress and obstruction. Trump railed against the sentencing guideline, and just a day later, the Justice Department said the recommendation did not "accurately reflect" its position. 

The former officials condemned Trump and Barr for repeatedly flouting principles based on an "evenhanded administration of justice," saying that the Stone case was just the latest example. 

"Such behavior is a grave threat to the fair administration of justice," they wrote. "A person should not be given special treatment in a criminal prosecution because they are a close political ally of the President."

The statement acknowledged that it is unlikely Barr will resign. Instead, the former officials wrote that the burden falls on "career officials to take appropriate action to uphold their oaths of office and defend nonpartisan, apolitical justice."

They then called on current officials to follow the "heroic example" set by the prosecutors who resigned from Stone's case. Stone's trial stemmed from crimes unearthed by former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE's investigation into Russian interference.

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"Be prepared to report future abuses to the Inspector General, the Office of Professional Responsibility, and Congress; to refuse to carry out directives that are inconsistent with their oaths of office; to withdraw from cases that involve such directives or other misconduct; and, if necessary, to resign and report publicly ... to the American people the reasons for their resignation," the statement read.

The Justice Department has insisted that Barr did not speak with Trump ahead of the decision to alter its sentencing recommendation for Stone. Still, the appearance of political intervention has spurred renewed calls among Democrats for Barr to step down. 

In an interview with ABC News, Barr acknowledged the problems Trump posed for his department by tweeting about active cases. He said Trump's tweets made it "impossible to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the department that we are doing our work with integrity.”