William Barr steps down as Attorney General

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Mr. Barr has brought the Justice Department closer to the White House than any attorney general in half a century. Defying the distance federal law enforcement officials generally maintained from electoral politics, Mr. Barr spent the months leading up to the election echoing Mr. Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud. He also told an interviewer that the country would be “irrevocably set on the socialist road” if the president is not re-elected.

But he backed off warnings of voter fraud after the election, saying little publicly for weeks until he said the department had received no evidence that would overturn Mr Biden’s election. “To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have had a different outcome in the election,” Barr told The Associated Press.

The president’s departure was a rare step for Barr, who had tried to undermine the most important findings of the Russia investigation. Weeks after taking office, he released a summary of the report of Special Advocate Robert S. Mueller III, which a judge later called distorted and misleading, and he held a fair press conference. ahead of the release of the full report where he described it in the best light possible for Mr. Trump.

Mr Barr appointed a special prosecutor, John H. Durham, to verify whether the investigation had been wrongly opened and he requested that the charges against Michael T. Flynn, the president’s first national security adviser, be withdrawn. He dismissed prosecutors who asked for a recommendation of severe sentencing for Roger J. Stone Jr., one of Mr. Trump’s longtime advisers.

Mr. Trump also gave him broad declassification powers to inquire about any intelligence gathered in 2016 about Russian interference in the election, giving Barr a leverage to turn to the CIA and other agencies. intelligence.

His tenure prompted a handful of career prosecutors to criticize him publicly, highly unusual actions that flouted Justice Department rules prohibiting employees from publicly discussing sensitive internal matters.

“Prosecutors are supposed to do their job regardless of party or politics,” wrote Michael Dion, a Seattle prosecutor, in a letter to the editor of the Seattle Times. “Barr, however, is turning the Justice Department into a shield to protect the president and his henchmen. “

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