Credo Action

Far-right William Barr must not become attorney general

Sign the petition

Tell the Senate:

"Reject William Barr's nomination as attorney general. His long record of right-wing extremist views combined with his anti-Mueller memo disqualify him."

    You'll receive periodic updates on offers and activism opportunities.

    Far-right William Barr must not become attorney general

    Trump's government shutdown has been eclipsing some important news: His pick for attorney general, William Barr, wants to give him cover when it comes to the Mueller investigation.

    This past summer, Barr argued to senior Justice Department officials that Robert Mueller cannot investigate Trump for obstruction of justice.1

    Barr's memo would be disqualifying even if the rest of his record was spotless, but of course, as a member of team Trump, his record is deep on bigotry and intolerance.2 With news last week that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein may leave the Justice Department after Barr is confirmed, there is even more urgency to build momentum to block Barr ahead of this week's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination.

    Tell the Senate: Reject William Barr.

    Since no one asked Barr to write his memo to the Justice Department, it appears that he was actively trying to court favor with Trump by attacking Mueller.3 He essentially signalled that he would shut down a huge portion of the Mueller investigation – the part focused on whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice – with arguments that law professors say don't hold up. The news of the memo came right after news that Acting Attorney General Matthew Whittaker overruled Justice Department ethics officials and decided not to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation. In short, Trump seems to pick attorneys general based on whether they will help cover up his alleged crimes.4

    When it comes to Mueller, Barr is worse than Jeff Sessions, but he has an equally ugly record on everything else:

    • Mass Incarceration: Barr and Sessions both want to expand mass incarceration and impose even stricter punishments. Barr even oversaw the writing of a report called "The Case for More Incarceration."5
    • Immigration: In the 1990s, as George H. W. Bush's attorney general, Barr led an effort that diverted Haitian asylum seekers to Guantanamo Bay. Some who were HIV positive were segregated and forced to undergo additional screening, creating what one LGBTQ activist called "the world's first and only detention camp for refugees with HIV." Barr defended it as late as 2001.6 He later went on to claim Trump's Muslim Ban was completely legal (courts disagreed) and lovingly applauded Sessions for his hard-line immigration policies like family separation.7
    • Right-wing agenda: Like Sessions, Barr wants to make the federal government a tool for his right-wing social agenda. He opposes Roe v. Wade, blamed secular culture for everything from HIV to crime, hailed Sessions's attempt to erase transgender Americans and once insisted that the feds should restrain what he termed “sexual immorality” like homosexuality and sex outside of marriage.8,9

    The tide could be turning on Barr. Even right-leaning Democrats are saying Trump should withdraw the nomination.10 Now it's up to us. We need a loud outcry right now to make sure no Democrat supports William Barr's nomination, and every Republican knows there is a political cost to ramming it through.

    Tell the Senate: Reject William Barr.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    References:

    1. Daniel Hemel and Eric Posner, "Bill Barr Just Argued Himself Out of a Job," The New York Times, Dec. 21, 2018.
    2. Jon Weiner, "William Barr: Worse Than Jeff Sessions?" The Nation, Dec. 13, 2018.
    3. Daniel Hemel and Eric Posner, "Bill Barr Just Argued Himself Out of a Job," The New York Times.
    4. Charlie Savage and Katie Benner, "A Memo and a Recusal Decision Underscore Potential Threats to the Mueller Inquiry," The New York Times, Dec. 20, 2018.
    5. Weiner, "William Barr: Worse Than Jeff Sessions?"
    6. Kate Smith, "'A stain on U.S. history': Trump's attorney general pick used Guantanamo Bay to hold thousands of Haitian refugees," CBS News, Dec. 10, 2016.
    7. Weiner, "William Barr: Worse Than Jeff Sessions?"
    8. Ibid.
    9. Jay Michaelson, "William Barr, Trump’s Attorney General Pick, Wanted Government to ‘Restrain Sexual Immorality,," Daily Beast, Dec. 9, 2018.
    10. Alex Rogers and Manu Raju, "Key Senate Democrat says Trump 'should withdraw' attorney general nomination," CNN, Dec. 20, 2018.

    Photo: Ron Sachs/Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images