Including how he undermined the Muller report, pushed to reduce Roger Stone’s sentence, and played a key role in protestors being forcibly removed from Lafayette Square.
President Donald Trump announced in a tweet on Monday that Attorney General Bill Barr will step down from his position before Christmas.
The Department of Justice, which Barr led since his appointment in February 2019, is designed to uphold the rule of law with independence and impartiality. But Barr, who backed the president’s baseless claims of mail-in voting fraud prior to the election and has been a staunch supporter of broad presidential powers, has a well documented history of undermining justice. He has interfered with prosecutions, muddled the special investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, and injected politics into what should be matters of justice.
Here is a look at eight times Barr subverted or otherwise interfered with justice.
Barr Inaccurately Summarized the Mueller Report
In March 2019, Barr received Robert Mueller’s report on Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Barr publicly released a four page summary of the 400-page report, weeks before Mueller’s full report was available to the public, and clearly omitted important details and context. Releasing the letter created additional confusion around the special counsel’s report and undermined the purpose of the independent investigation.
Barr Involved In Forcefully Removing Demonstrators from DC’s Lafayette Park
In June, amidst ongoing protests over the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Barr was involved in the decision to allow US Park Police to use tear gas to remove demonstrators from Lafayette Park in Washington D.C. The action allowed President Trump to walk to St. John’s Episcoal Church located nearby for a photo-op.
Barr denies being involved in ordering the police action but does not dispute his part in the plan to forcibly remove demonstrators from the park.
Barr Attacked Mail-In Voting, Waited To Acknowledge Biden’s Win
Barr erroneously claimed on more than one occasion that mail-in voting is more susceptible to fraud than in-person voting. For more than a month after the election Barr refused to acknowledge Biden’s win over Trump in the 2020 election.
In a rare break from the president, Barr announced in December that the Department of Justice found no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Barr only publicly admitted that Biden won after the Electoral College cast their votes on Dec. 14.
Justice Department Pushed to Reduce Roger Stone’s Sentencing
Initially, the Justice Department recommended that Roger Stone be sentenced to seven to nine years for witness tampering and lying to investigators. But after a 2am tweet from President Trump, the department issued a new memo with no recommended sentence, writing that the previous recommendation “could be considered excessive or unwarranted.”
In response, all four of the prosecutors in the Stone case resigned their positions and said the action was politically motivated. Later a prosecutor on the Stone case wrote an op-ed in which he explained that the department “put political patronage ahead of its commitment to the rule of law.”
Barr Blocked Congress From Reviewing the Full Mueller Report
The House Judiciary Committee had to subpoena Barr to force him to provide the full and unredacted Mueller report. Barr refused to release the full information and the issue was left to the courts to decide. It is still pending, according to the Project on Government Oversight.
Antitrust Investigations Into Cannabis Companies Were Motivated By Barr’s Dislike of Cannabis
According to testimony from a DOJ employee, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim confirmed during an Antitrust Division all-staff meeting that investigations into the cannabis industry, which made up a significant part of the office’s work, were pushed by Barr and his dislike for the industry.
Barr Gave His Department Control Over All Investigations Into Political Candidates and Parties
In February 2020, Barr announced a new policy that required the FBI and other parts of the Justice Department to notify Barr before launching an investigation into presidential or vice presidential candidates. He also required that departments receive written approval.
The move gave Barr the authority to veto any investigation into a candidate’s conduct.
Barr Repeatedly Refused To Appear Before The House
Barr repeatedly refused to appear before the House on issues relating investigations into Russian interference, Michael Flynn, the Stone sentencing, and general questions about the Mueller report, among others.