Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) on Tuesday is calling on the House to initiate an impeachment inquiry against Attorney General William Barr, alleging that he had “undermined our judicial system and perverted the rule of law.”
Cohen, a member of the House Judiciary Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, introduced a resolution on the House floor seeking to authorize an impeachment probe into the head of the Justice Department. His resolution is co-sponsored by 35 of his Democrat colleagues, including House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).
Barr had been placed under new scrutiny in recent weeks for actions and decisions that his critics alleged had improper motivations. Democrat lawmakers, including House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), have complained about Barr’s handling of several incidents including overriding the sentencing recommendation for Trump associate Roger Stone, the decision to not prosecute Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the firing of the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman, and the clearing of protesters of Lafayette Square on June 1.
These incidents have attracted widespread criticism against Barr from Congress, former DOJ officials, and faculty members of George Washington University Law School, the alma mater of the attorney general. Meanwhile, Nadler has launched an oversight probe into the DOJ and has invited Barr to testify in late July, which the attorney general has accepted.
The resolution (pdf) cites a number of these instances, alleging that Barr’s actions had violated the “rights of the American people, assault[ed] the principle of impartial administration of justice, and undermine[d] the constitutional structure of separation of powers across three co-equal branches of Government.”
“The pattern here is unmistakable. Barr obstructs justice by favoring the President’s friends and political allies. He abuses his power by using the Department of Justice to harass, intimidate, and attack disfavored Americans and the President’s political opponents,” Cohen said in a statement.
Barr has repeatedly denied claims that he has been working on behalf of the president, saying that he had been “doing the law’s bidding.” The attorney general had said in past interviews that his decisions were based on his commitment to restoring an equal standard of justice in the United States.
In the Flynn case, for example, Barr said that the DOJ’s decision to dismiss the case against the former national security adviser was made to uphold the rule of law, citing exculpatory evidence in Flynn’s case that had just been released at the time.
“As new information just became available that has a bearing on whether there was a legitimate investigation, that requires us, our duty, we think is to dismiss the case,” Barr said.
The attorney general added he was committed to restoring an equal standard of justice in the United States and that standard requires the department to dismiss the case against Flynn.
“I wanted to make sure that we restore confidence in the system. There’s only one standard of justice,” he said.
Kerri Kupec, the DOJ spokesperson, previously pushed back on suggestions that House Democrats could initiate impeachment proceedings against Barr, characterizing the lawmakers’ actions as a “political thing.”
“If people have a problem with Bill Barr coming back to the Department of Justice to restore one system of justice, not a two-tiered system, I think that says a lot more about the critics than it does about the attorney general,” Kupec told Fox & Friends. “Because that is what he has done again and again.
“He approaches all cases with an open mind. He judges them according to the facts and the law without regard to political consideration. This is what he promised to do at his confirmation, this is what he has done throughout his tenure as attorney general, and that is what he will continue to do until his last day as AG.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on June 25 did not seem amenable to the possibility that House Democrats would impeach Barr, saying that the election would decide whether the attorney general would stay.
“A hundred and thirty-one days from now, we will have the solution to many problems, one of them being Barr,” Pelosi said during a live event.
The DOJ and Pelosi’s office did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment on the House Resolution.