In what appears to by a display of rank partisan political hypocrisy, the New York City Bar Association has written a letter to the leaders of Congress, condemning the actions of Attorney General William Barr and requesting an investigation into his conduct.
We write on behalf of the New York City Bar Association (the “City Bar”) to urge Congress to commence formal inquiries into a pattern of conduct by Attorney General William P. Barr that threatens public confidence in the fair and impartial administration of justice. We make this request based upon our belief, as similarly recognized by Mr. Barr during his Senate confirmation hearings, that the Attorney General occupies a unique position with special obligations as the nation’s top law enforcement officer. We also make this request in keeping with the City Bar’s mission to embrace advancement of the rule of law and the fair administration of justice, especially by those who are entrusted with important public responsibilities.
On December 10, 2019, in a television interview soon after DOJ’s Inspector General released a report finding no improper political motivation in the FBI’s commencement of a counterintelligence investigation into alleged ties between the Trump-Pence campaign and Russian officials in 2016, Mr. Barr publicly rejected the Inspector General’s findings, asserting instead that a separate ongoing investigation into the FBI’s actions that he personally had directed would likely reach a different conclusion. Although that second investigation (which is being supervised by a different DOJ official) is not yet complete, Mr. Barr nevertheless openly discussed his opinions about the likely outcome of that investigation. In a separate statement the previous day, Mr. Barr asserted that the FBI’s factual predicate was “insufficient to justify” its investigation and that the FBI may have acted in “bad faith” in commencing that investigation.
These comments follow and are reminiscent of Mr. Barr’s earlier mischaracterizations of the Mueller Report, prior to his release of a redacted version of it, in which Mr. Barr claimed the special counsel had found insufficient evidence of any obstruction of justice by President Trump—a material mischaracterization of the Mueller Report and a proposition rejected by more than 1,000 former federal prosecutors based on the facts set forth in the Mueller Report.
These public statements by Mr. Barr also contravene the norms applicable to his office and warrant further investigation by Congress as part of an inquiry into Mr. Barr’s conduct as Attorney General more generally.
They may even implicate ethical considerations, insofar as prosecutors must generally avoid public comments on ongoing investigations and must not manifest any bias or prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation or partisan political considerations in exercising their prosecutorial discretion.
Although we do not in this letter take any position on whether or not Mr. Barr has violated any Rules of Professional Conduct, at least one leading legal ethics authority has suggested that government lawyers have special obligations to be factually accurate in their public statements, and should be bound by the Rules of Professional Conduct, even if they do not represent clients in the traditional sense.
For the reasons stated above, we have significant concerns about the propriety of Mr. Barr’s recent actions and statements. We urge Congress to exercise its constitutional obligations by expeditiously commencing formal inquiries into Mr. Barr’s conduct.
For those wishing to read the complete letter, in context and with full lawyerly footnotes, it can be downloaded from the New York Bar Association.
Where is the New York City Bar Association’s outrage over FBI James Comey usurping the powers of the Department of Justice and using a nonexistent element of law to excuse Hillary Clinton's clearly criminal behavior? The New York City Bar Association is a joke and should be disbanded as a public service.
We are so screwed.
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell