Thursday, May 27, 2021

William Barr: D.C. Bar Disciplinary Counsel Refuses to Investigate

Via a form letter the D.C. Bar Office of Disciplinary Counsel informed the lawyers - including four former D.C. Bar Presidents that it would not investigate the actions of former Attorney General William Barr.  The gravamen of the charges filed is stated concisely by   former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger in a post on Just Security.  The charges are that in his service to the President rather than the country Barr is to be sanctioned for:

1. Unconstitutionally ordering, overseeing and supporting the forcible dispersal of constitutionally protected peaceful protests at Lafayette Square. In so doing, Mr. Barr unethically represented Mr. Trump’s personal interests in a “photo op” rather than carrying out his ethical duty to represent his client — the people of the United States — to protect their fundamental interest in their constitutional rights.

2. Misleading Congress and the public by asserting that the Mueller Report did not contain sufficient evidence to establish that President Trump committed the crime of “obstruction of justice.”

3. Deceiving the American people in his unprecedented December 2019 attack on a report from a Justice Department Inspector General. Mr. Barr misrepresented the IG’s determination that the FBI had a proper basis for launching its 2016 counterintelligence investigation — by leaving out crucial evidence on which the IG relied.

4. Issuing harmful and totally unnecessary public prejudgments of FBI personnel during a pending criminal investigation he was overseeing in which they were potential defendants – seriously interfering with the administration of justice.

Harshbarger concludes "All of these matters are part of Mr. Barr’s pattern of placing the president’s personal and political interests ahead of his ethical duty to represent the interests of the United States in dispensing evenhanded justice under the rule of law and upholding the Constitution."

Asserting that the complainants lacked "personal knowledge" the D.C. Office of Disciplinary Counsel said it does not "intervene in matters that are being discussed on the national political scene.
It is notable that in the Watergate scandal former A.G. John Mitchell was convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of justice.  He served 19 months in federal prison.  He was disbarred in New York.
- George Conk

D.C. Bar Ethics Committee Refuses to Investigate former Attorney General William Bar 
by Michael Frisch - Ethics Counsel, Georgetown University Law Center

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