CONTACT: Jordan Libowitz
202-408-5565 | [email protected]
Washington —Attorney General William Barr’s disparaging public statements about an active Department of Justice investigation violate rules intended to prevent biasing inquiries and protect due process, according to a complaint filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). DOJ, which is currently investigating the origins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, prohibits employees from making any statement that could directly impact the outcome of an investigation–which is exactly what Barr did.
Barr’s public comments about U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the origins of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe strongly criticized the FBI and its employees. His statements have garnered public attention and appear to constitute direct violations of DOJ rules and the standards of ethical conduct that all executive branch employees must adhere to.
“Since the beginning of his tenure at the Department of Justice, Attorney General Barr has operated more as the president’s personal attorney than as the country’s chief law enforcement officer,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder. “Throughout the Durham investigation, Barr’s inflammatory language and disparaging comments have improperly sown mistrust and doubt about the integrity of the Mueller investigation and may have tainted the fairness of the investigation.”
This is not the first time Barr’s personal opinions have colored the characterization of ongoing DOJ matters. He has repeatedly touted President Trump’s claims the FBI had “spied” on President Trump’s presidential campaign, despite the complete lack of evidence supporting such allegations, and made conscious efforts to skew public opinion in favor of President Trump.
“Today’s complaint draws attention to the seriousness of Barr’s misconduct and his cavalier attitude toward the laws that he and other members of this administration have sworn to uphold,” said Bookbinder. “Sadly, the pattern of conduct highlighted in this complaint has carried through to this week’s interference in the sentencing recommendations for the President’s friend Roger Stone; an investigation of this problematic conduct is overdue.”