More than 1,000 former US Department of Justice officials on Sunday called for US Attorney General William Barr to resign over his handling of the trial of a longtime adviser of US President Donald Trump.
The former officials, who served under Republican and Democratic administrations, criticized Barr, the nation’s top law enforcement officer, for overruling his own prosecutors in a case that has prompted accusations that the Trump administration is weakening the rule of law.
On Tuesday last week, the department abandoned prosecutors’ initial recommendation to give veteran Republican operative Roger Stone seven to nine years in prison after he was found guilty in November last year of seven counts of lying to the US Congress, obstruction and witness tampering, prompting all four prosecutors to quit the case.
“It is unheard of for the Department’s top leaders to overrule line prosecutors, who are following established policies, in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the President, as Attorney General Barr did in the Stone case,” read the letter, published on the Web site Medium.
“Those actions, and the damage they have done to the Department of Justice’s reputation for integrity and the rule of law, require Mr. Barr to resign,” it said.
The justice department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump had heavily criticized the original sentencing request for Stone and the department subsequently abandoned it, instead deciding to make no formal sentencing recommendation.
Democrats blasted the department’s shift in the high-profile case involving Stone, whose friendship with Trump dates back decades.
Stone’s trial arose from former US special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that detailed extensive Russian interference in the 2016 election to benefit Trump’s candidacy.
Barr on Thursday said in an interview with broadcaster ABC that Trump’s criticism of those involved in the Stone case “make it impossible for me to do my job.”
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
SPACE RACE: The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp mission aims to land a robotic rover and put a probe into orbit around the planet China is targeting a July launch for its ambitious Mars mission, which includes landing a remote-controlled robot on the surface of the Red Planet, the company in charge of the project has said. Beijing has invested billions of dollars in its space program in an effort to catch up with its rival, the US, and affirm its status as a major world power. The Mars mission is among a number of new space projects China is pursuing, including putting Chinese astronauts on the moon and having a space station by 2022. Beijing had been planning the Mars mission for some time this year,
India has moved additional troops along its northern border as it prepares for an extended conflict with China, after several rounds of talks failed to ease tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals. China has already placed about 5,000 soldiers and armored vehicles within its side of the disputed border in the Ladakh region, an Indian government official said, asking not to be identified, citing rules. India is adding a similar number of troops as well as artillery guns along the border to fend off the continuing incursions by the Chinese army, the official said. The standoff began on May 5, when troops clashed
China is poised to enshrine individuals’ rights to privacy and personal data for the first time, a symbolic first step as more of the country of 1.4 billion people becomes digitized — and more vulnerable to leaks and hacks. The legislation is part of China’s first civil code, a sweeping package of laws that is being deliberated during the annual meeting of China’s National People’s Congress, which began on Friday after a delay of more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent draft, an individual has a right to privacy and to have their personal information protected. Data