Two career Justice Department whistleblowers testified in before the House Judiciary Committee last week about Attorney General William Barr’s attempts to corrupt the department in favor of his boss, Donald Trump. Barr has made no secret of his belief that a president should not be indicted or implicated in crimes while occupying the office of president.
Aaron Zelinsky served as a prosecutor on the special counsel team led by Robert Mueller and later worked on the case against Trump’s friend and associate Roger Stone. He told the committee led by Jerry Nadler that there was clear interference on the part of A.G. Barr in Stone’s sentencing process.
Donald Ayer, who preceded Barr as deputy attorney general in the administration of George H.W. Bush, called Barr “the greatest threat in my lifetime to our rule of law” as he testified before the committee that Barr had misused his powers as attorney general to advance the president’s personal and political interests. He further told the committee members that Barr has given every reason to “mistrust everything he says” and called for Barr to resign.
A third whistleblower, John Elias, a prosecutor in the antitrust division of the Justice Department, testified that Barr had directed baseless investigations into the cannabis industry because of Barr’s personal distaste for the rising legal marijuana market.
Nadler told the witnesses that they were brave to come forward to give testimony implicating Barr, especially since the Trump administration has a history of witness intimidation. “I have no doubt that they will try to exact a price for your testimony,” Nadler said.
Typically career Justice Department employees do not testify before Congress and it is unclear how the House Democrats can hold Barr and the Trump administration accountable for these corrupt influences. Barr has reportedly agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on July 28, but he has bailed out at the last minute in the past. The Justice Department is already pushing back on the whistleblowers’ testimony.
Even so, the press surrounding the testimony of these witnesses against Barr have added to recent allegations that he has given cover for Trump’s corrupt impulses. These three men have put their careers at the Justice Department on the line to come forward. Therefore, Zelinsky, Ayer and Elias get my vote for Fandango’s Who Won the Week.
Information obtained from the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC and DOJ Whistleblowers Testify That William Barr Has Politicized Justice by Ryan J. Reilly in Huffpost.