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Former Justice Department lawyers accuse Barr of seeking to help Trump win reelection

A group of over 1,600 former Justice Department (DOJ) attorneys are accusing Attorney General William BarrBill BarrPolice accountability board concludes that Seattle police officers used excessive force during encounters with protesters Trump hasn't asked Barr to open investigation into Bidens, McEnany says Seattle, Portland, NYC sue Trump administration over threat to pull federal money MORE of seeking to help President TrumpDonald John TrumpFox News president, top anchors advised to quarantine after coronavirus exposure: report Six notable moments from Trump and Biden's '60 Minutes' interviews Biden on attacks on mental fitness: Trump thought '9/11 attack was 7/11 attack' MORE win reelection. 

"We fear that Attorney General Barr intends to use the DOJ's vast law enforcement powers to undermine our most fundamental democratic value: free and fair elections," the group wrote in an open letter published Thursday on Medium.

Among other things, the group says Barr’s effort to cast doubt on mail-in voting is an inappropriate use of his authority. 

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“We speak out again now because we fear that Attorney General Barr intends to use the DOJ’s vast law enforcement powers to undermine our most fundamental democratic value: free and fair elections,” the group wrote. “He has signaled this intention in myriad ways, from making false statements about the security of mail-in voting from foreign hackers to falsely suggesting that mail-in ballots are subject to widespread fraud and coercion.”

The group said that there “are serious questions about whether there is a legitimate basis” for the investigation led by U.S. Attorney John DurhamJohn DurhamTrump remarks put pressure on Barr Trump demands Barr investigate Hunter Biden Juan Williams: Trump's search for dirt falls flat MORE, who is looking into the origins of the Russia investigation. 

So far Durham’s probe has led to a criminal charge against a FBI lawyer who pleaded guilty to falsifying an email investigators used to justify continued surveillance of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The group of former U.S. attorneys say Barr is working to produce results before the November election.

“But even if there is a legitimate predicate for the Durham investigation, there is clearly no justification for taking public action on it in such close proximity to the November election,” the group wrote. “Such a blatant politicization and abuse of federal law enforcement power risks immense and lasting harm to our democracy and to the integrity and reputation of the DOJ.”

The DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment.