The Department of Justice, led by the attorney general, has a unique role in our government.
The attorney general, as the nation’s top law enforcement official, is entrusted with ensuring that the department acts with impartiality and independence to uphold the rule of law.
Although the attorney general is a presidential appointee who works within the executive branch, the Justice Department’s mandate is to treat the people of the United States, not the president, as its client.
Inherent in the department’s and the attorney general’s responsibilities is also to act in accordance with reasonable checks and balances.
Under Attorney General William Barr, the Justice Department has repeatedly strayed from its commitment to independence and the rule of law.
Barr has demonstrated a disregard for these values, putting personal and political priorities first and undermining the constitutional separation of powers—in short, he has acted in a manner unbefitting the powerful position of attorney general.
Looking at Barr’s tenure since his February 2019 confirmation, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) identified a long string of actions that constitute serious misconduct, and may inflict lasting damage to the Justice Department.
These actions generally fall into four key categories of misconduct that are antithetical to the department’s responsibilities to the public and to the Constitution.
Barr has on numerous occasions interfered with impartial prosecutions, prioritized politics over justice, undermined the independent special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and hindered congressional oversight.
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