Attorney General Bill Barr “has brought shame” on the US Department of Justice, a current federal prosecutor wrote in a highly unusual public call-out, decrying “the unprecedented politicization of the officer of the attorney general.”
“The attorney general acts as though his job is to serve only the political interests of Donald J. Trump,” James D. Herbert, assistant US attorney for the District of Massachusetts, wrote in a September 24 letter published by The Boston Globe. “This is a dangerous abuse of power.”
On Friday, the authenticity of the letter was confirm, which spells out a litany of alleged offenses committed by Herbert’s boss, from falsely claiming the Mueller Report exonerated the president “to his baseless claims about mail-in ballots.”
NEW: Sources familiar confirm to @ABC the authenticity of this letter from current AUSA James Herbert publicly speaking out against AG Barr. “The current attorney general has brought shame on the department he purports to lead.” w/ @AaronKatersky pic.twitter.com/4jzDtk7Q0r
— Alex Mallin (@alex_mallin) September 25, 2020
As ABC News reported, Barr was involved in an apparent effort this week to spin mishandled absentee ballots in Pennsylvania as malicious voter fraud. Barr, before the news was made public, “personally briefed President Donald Trump” on the case, which according to Politico’s Tim Alberta involved at least one official in Republican-led Luzerne County mistaking the letters for absentee ballot requests.
Once opened, the ballots became legally spoiled.
Before those details were publicly released, however, Trump — after his meeting with Barr — would discuss the case on Fox, while the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania issued an unusual press release that stated 7 of nine ballots, which had been discarded, “were cast for presidential candidate Donald Trump.”
David Laufman, a former senior official at the Department of Justice, described the statement as “both bizarre and disturbing,” arguing the facts of the case were “blatantly contrived to provide political ballast for a sitting president’s campaign narrative.”
In his letter, Herbert noted that while such ex-DOJ employees have spoken out, current prosecutors were understandably reticent to do the same. He, however, could not take it any longer.
“William Barr has done the president’s bidding at every turn,” Herbert wrote. “For 30 years I have been proud to say I work for the Department of Justice, but the current attorney general has brought shame on the department he purports to lead.”
A department spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.