More than two dozen members of the D.C. Bar Association, including four of its former presidents, urged the group’s disciplinary board on Wednesday to investigate Attorney General William BarrBill BarrMeadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report Why it's time for conservatives to accept the 2020 election results and move on Bannon's subpoena snub sets up big decision for Biden DOJ MORE for committing “serious ethical deviations” as head of the Justice Department under President TrumpDonald TrumpSix big off-year elections you might be missing Twitter suspends GOP Rep. Banks for misgendering trans health official Meghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' MORE.
The 40-page complaint alleges that Barr has repeatedly served as Trump’s personal attorney, rather than act on behalf of the United States, in breach of Barr’s ethical obligations as a lawyer. The result, the letter states, has been to undermine and interfere with the rule of law.
“Mr. Barr’s client is the United States, and not the President,” the members write in the letter. “Yet, Mr. Barr has consistently made decisions and taken action to serve the personal and political self-interests of President Donald Trump, rather than the interest of the United States.”
Since he took over as the top Justice Department official early last year, Barr has faced repeated attacks for unduly steering the department in a way to advance Trump’s political interests, including overruling career federal prosecutors in order to seek lighter punishment for Trump ally Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneWhite House orders release of Trump records to Jan. 6 committee Bannon says he discussed how to 'kill this administration in the crib' with Trump before Jan. 6 Roger Stone served with Capitol riot lawsuit during radio interview MORE and to drop charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
The Justice Department declined to comment. Barr has previously denied that the White House has influenced his prosecutorial judgment.
According to records, Barr has been a member of the D.C. Bar since 1978 and is listed as being in “good standing.” There is no record of disciplinary action against him.
Membership in the D.C. Bar is mandatory for lawyers practicing in the nation’s capital. The group is charged with administering law licenses in the District and with meting out punishment for misconduct, which can include disbarment.
In urging a review of Barr’s conduct for possible disciplinary action, the complaint targets the attorney general’s decision to clear Trump of obstructing former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE’s two-year investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election. It also admonishes Barr for his public criticism of the investigators and for undermining the probe’s legitimacy.
Barr’s role in the administration’s aggressive dispersal of a largely peaceful protest outside the White House last month, which involved the use of tear gas, flash bombs and rubber bullets, was also highlighted in the complaint.
“In overseeing and ordering the unconstitutional attack on citizens peacefully protesting in Lafayette Square, the attorney general violated his lawyer’s oath,” the letter states. “With the whole world watching, he demonstrated the starkest, anti-constitutional harm that a conflict of interest can cause.”
The letter comes as Barr, separately, is among the named defendants in a lawsuit brought last month by Black Lives Matter, the American Civil Liberties Union and several protesters for the Lafayette Square ordeal.
The protesters allege that administration members carried out a conspiracy to violate their free speech and other constitutional rights while they peacefully protested the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May.