Federal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr ‘has brought shame’ on Justice Dept.
A sitting federal prosecutor spoke out against Attorney General William Barr, saying he has “brought shame” on the Department of Justice (DOJ).
James Herbert, an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, said he was compelled to issue the stunning rebuke Thursday over concerns Barr was politicizing the Justice Department.
“While I am a federal prosecutor, I am writing to express my own views, clearly not those of the department, on a matter that should concern all citizens: the unprecedented politicization of the office of the attorney general,” Herbert wrote in The Boston Globe. “The attorney general acts as though his job is to serve only the political interests of Donald J. Trump. This is a dangerous abuse of power.”
Herbert cited Barr’s summary of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report downplaying its findings in the Russia investigation and remarks echoing debunked claims from President Trump over concerns about widespread fraud in mail-in ballots to argue that the attorney general is using the DOJ to further the White House’s political interests.
“William Barr has done the president’s bidding at every turn. For 30 years I have been proud to say I work for the Department of Justice, but the current attorney general has brought shame on the department he purports to lead,” Herbert wrote.
Herbert said he was inspired to speak out after Barr gave a speech earlier this month at Hillsdale College, a conservative Michigan institution. The attorney raised eyebrows in the speech by claiming virtual absolute power within his agency.
“What exactly am I interfering with? Under the law, all prosecutorial power is invested in the attorney general,” Barr said in the speech at Hillsdale College in response to claims he was interfering in cases involving Trump associates.
“Letting the most junior members set the agenda might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it is no way to run a federal agency,” he said.
Herbert’s office confirmed the authenticity of the letter to The Hill but noted he was not acting in his official capacity.
The DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
Barr has faced a flood of criticism from Democrats that he’s politicized the DOJ, allegations that spiked after Barr worked to override prosecutors’ sentencing recommendations for Roger Stone, a Trump associate, looking to impose a lighter sentence. Stone’s sentence for seven felony charges was ultimately commuted by Trump.