CONTACT: Jordan Libowitz
202-408-5565 | [email protected]
Washington — The Department of Justice (DOJ) Departmental Ethics Office should withdraw any ethics authorization Attorney General William Barr may be relying on to participate in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, according to a letter sent today by Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) to Assistant Attorney General Lee Lofthus. Barr’s apparent lack of impartiality should eliminate him from participating in any cases that Mueller transferred or referred to other DOJ components.
“Attorney General Barr has engaged in a pattern of conduct that calls into question his objectivity on criminal matters that implicate the President or the President’s businesses, associates, or political organizations,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in the letter. “Because of the appearance of impropriety caused by Attorney General Barr’s continued involvement in these matters, he should be required to recuse from all of them.”
Questions about Barr’s apparent lack of impartiality stem from his 19-page legal memo criticizing possible obstruction of justice charges against the president written before he was nominated to be our country’s top law enforcement officer, as well as recent evidence that Barr may have misled Congress and the public about the substance of the Mueller Report in advance of its release.
“In overseeing the Special Counsel investigation, Attorney General Barr appears to have improperly placed President Trump’s personal interests ahead of his obligations to the American people,” the letter to Assistant Attorney General Lofthus continues. “As the designated agency ethics official for the Justice Department, you have a unique and overriding obligation to the American public to ensure that public confidence in the integrity of DOJ investigations is not further undermined by actions undertaken by Attorney General Barr due to his evident lack of impartiality.”