By Andrew Duehren and Sadie Gurman
More than 1,100 former Justice Department employees are calling on Attorney General William Barr to resign, signing an open letter that criticizes Barr’s decision to reduce prosecutors’ initial sentencing recommendation for a confidant of President Donald Trump.
The letter, organized by former Justice Department employees and the advocacy group Protect Democracy, which was formed in 2017 and has been critical of the Trump administration, describes Barr’s intervention in the case as outrageous and says it raises questions about the department’s independence and the fair administration of justice.
“A person should not be given special treatment in a criminal prosecution because they are a close political ally of the president,” reads the letter, which also says former officials in both Republican and Democratic administrations signed on to the text.
A spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to comment. An administration official, Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, said on Sunday on CNN: “Barr is being independent. He did come into this decision on his own. It was not something he was influenced by, by the president.”
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