They live all over the country. They’ve served under Republican and Democratic presidents. They’ve been United States attorneys, federal prosecutors and other high-ranking officials.
There are nearly 2,600 of them, and they’re unanimous in their belief: President Trump is abusing the power of his office. He and Attorney General William P. Barr are threatening the Department of Justice’s long tradition of impartiality. They want Barr to resign.
Among the signees: Westporter Kristan Peters-Hamlin.
The RTM member — now an attorney in private practice — spent many years in the Washington, DC US Attorney’s office.
She was appointed by Richard Thornburgh, attorney general for President George H.W. Bush.
Hamlin continued serving under Barr — during his first stint as AG — and Janet Reno, President Clinton’s first pick for that post.
Eric Holder — President Obama’s attorney general — was a boss of Hamlin’s in the DC office. Robert Mueller was a colleague.
She prosecuted drug and economic crimes, along with many others.
In the Bush administration, Hamlin says, Barr “seemed like a normal attorney general. There was zero political interference.”
These days, she says, former colleagues “don’t recognize him. It’s like he’s been transmogrified.”
The letter Hamlin signed circulated among a network of former DOJ employees. The signatories share Hamlin’s outrage and sadness at what has happened to the department they love.
“The idea of the federal judiciary being able to check the executive branch goes back to John Marshall,” she notes.
When she read the letter (click here for the full text), she agreed wholeheartedly.
Still, she hesitated momentarily before signing.
“This is a president who retaliates,” she says. “And an attorney general who enables retaliation.”
She wondered about potential consequences for her. Ultimately, she realized, “This was a love letter to my colleagues. We revere the Department of Justice. We’re not willing to see it polluted and corrupted. And there are plenty of people who have sacrificed a lot more than I have to keep it impartial.”
So far, there have been no adverse reactions.
However, the Connecticut Law Journal asked for comment.
And Congressman Jim Himes thanked Hamlin — and the 3 other signees from his district — for “standing up for the rule of law.”
I used to revere the DOJ and the FBI but no longer. I was so troubled by the abuse of the FISA Court words cannot describe. The Inspector Generals report if read closely should concern every citizen. Law enforcement officers and lawyers essentially lied to a judge. They changed documents and failed to disclose exculpatory information. This is a court where only one side appears. Something has to change as this abuse is totally unacceptable.
Do you feel the DOJ is in a better place now with Attorney General Barr ?
Hi Dan– Your article says that “She worked on cases involving Oliver North, Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, and the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing.” That is not correct. What I said is that the DC USAO office worked on politically charged cases such as Oliver North, Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, and the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing and yet there was never any political interference in such cases (which is one reason why what happened in the DC USAO with the interference on the Roger Stone sentencing memo stands out).
Sorry, Kristan – I misunderstood what you said. I’ve removed that line from the story.
Political hogwash 😂🇺🇸
The link took me to more political hogwash but thank you for sharing 🙏
Care to expand ? or even translate ?
Patrick– This gentleman, Don Ayer, who wrote this below article was a Republican appointed Deputy Attorney General. “DONALD AYER served as United States Attorney and Principal Deputy Solicitor General in the Reagan administration and as Deputy Attorney General under George H.W. Bush.” According to this article, he personally knows Barr fairly well.
I thought his article was insightful and it may be helpful to others to read and understand how even Republican former and present DOJ professionals are seeing this issue. We must also keep in mind that the two lead attorneys on the Stone case who resigned from the case in protest over the political interference (Kravis –the Republican appointed Deputy Chief of the Public Integrity section just completely quit the DOJ outright) both clerked for Republican appointed US Supreme Court justices.
I am so grateful to Ms. Hamlin and the other signees on this DOJ Alum statement. Never in my life have I been as alarmed as when I heard him tell the public this week in his own words; I AM THE LAW. This is a defining moment in our history, this must not stand. I encourage you to visit the POP’T ART Galley @#1 Main st. to see how the show “Words Matter” is trying to bring back constructive dialogue to our town and country. The show will start travelling to other states next month, go while it’s still here.
Amen Mr. Doyle. Partisan politics has permeated all levels of our government, even those sworn to impartially protect America and its citizens. Its not about Democrat or Republican, the problem is politicians. This is not about President Trump in particular but about any “outsider” who might threaten the lucrative, profitable, highly protected world that is the “sand box” of politics. The wolves have always been in charge of the hen house and they will fight like hell to prevent the American public finding out about their “club” or changing it. That’s what Donald Trump & Michael Bloomberg represent to these politicians….threats that must never be allowed to get too “close” to the inner circle. They represent a politician’s worse fear….someone they can’t control with promises of wealth, benefits and fat retirement bank accounts (read “PAC”) and who might actually have American’s best interest at heart. After 200 years of politicians subverting the beautiful and revolutionary idea the founders intended for personal gain, I doubt Americans will ever wake up and be able to take the Country back, the corruption is too well ingrained and protected.
Trump is cleaning house and demolishing career liberal and autocratic Republicans in the process m(97% of signers of the Barr letter are liberals/democrats and a dozen work at CNN and MSNBC (better known as MSDNC). Let’s keep 06880 apolitical Dan, we know where you stand and tolerate it because loving Westport is what we have in common. 06880 should be for Westport and not against either side of the aisle.
“06880” is “Where Westport meets the world,” Matt. If there’s a Westporter — with a connection to a current news story, of course, not just an opinion — on the opposite site of the 2,600 signers of the letter, I’m happy to post that story.
Can you please provide a source for your statement that 97% of the signers are “liberals/democrats”?
Dan, This letter is not a Republican versus Dem thing. Donald Ayer is a Reagan and Bush appointee. Would Mr. Panos discount even the association of more than a thousand Federal judges, which has called an emergency meeting to address concern about the unprecedented interference by Barr and Trump in the impartial administration of the law?
Indeed, Stone has just now been sentenced by Judge Berman Jackson who gave a speech before she sentenced Stone to 40 months and called AG Barr’s intervention to reduce career prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation “unprecedented.” In a lengthy speech before imposing the penalty, [Judge] Jackson seemed to take aim at Trump — saying Stone “was not prosecuted for standing up for the president; he was prosecuted for covering up for the president.”
“The truth still exists, the truth still matters,” Jackson said. “Roger Stone’s insistence that it doesn’t, his belligerence, his pride in his own lies are a threat to our most fundamental institutions, to the foundations of our democracies. If it goes unpunished it will not be a victory for one political party; everyone loses.”
She added, “The dismay and disgust at the defendant’s belligerence should transcend party.”
It is Dan’s blog he can write about any subject. I don’t see anything wrong with that, too bad you only “tolerate” it because Dan like you love Westport.
Sounds like you just want to hear one side of the story, not a very democratic thought, even if you are a Republican. I like Dan lean left, but I remember when Bush 41 invited Dana Carvey to the White House, even though Dana was making fun of the President, what class, always respected President Bush for that. Today everyone just want to hear the side they agree with, instead of hearing different sides and then making up their own mind.
It would be nice to have a President who had a sense of humor and could laugh at himself, no matter which party he belongs to. Both Ronald Reagan and JKF comes to mind, both gentlemen had was excellent communicators.
Thank-you for all your integrity and hard work
After last nights circus I can say 4 more years of Trump. Thank god. Liberal westporters will be crying 😢. 67,000 people at trumps rally in Arizona and 18 % were Democrats. Kristan Hamlin is about as left as you can be.
Says “Jeff” who harks from North Carolina – and “flipped hot dogs” for a living… which qualifies how little he knows about Kristan Hamlin. (My eyes cannot roll any further back these days, thanks to the multitudes of troglodytes who feel empowered by this regime.)
Lisa westporters like you are the reason I decided to raise my family in another state. That business was started in 1976 by my cousins. My family Is 4 generations deep in that town. We had teachers, firemen, town employees and police officers that served over 300 years of service. Sorry my being a small business owner doesn’t meet up to your liberal standards.
I am disappointed that the efforts of people such as Kristan are not universally applauded in numerous responses to this item on “06880”. There appears to be such misunderstanding and the assertion as facts of either opinions or, quite commonly, untruths. Donald Trump and Bill Barr believe that the Justice Department is simply a department within the Executive Branch and, as such, the President as the nation’s chief executive officer is substantially free to exercise his executive branch authority as he, as President, may determine. This analysis of American government provides the vehicle for an Alan Dershowitz to assert that the President may act in a corrupt manner if his actions will support his re-election. Our nation confronted the same issues under Richard Nixon. The corruption fostered by President Nixon and implemented by Atty. General Mitchell resulted in the establishment under Pres. Ford of procedures, policies and protections intended to assure that the Justice Department adheres to the law, not the will of the President. No doubt, people can find examples of instances that offended these principles. What is different now is that those procedures, policies and protections are being treated as a misunderstanding of the American system of government. It is that reversal, that theory that is so troubling, indeed scary, about the actions and philosophy of Pres. Trump, his Atty. General and certain others within the Trump administration.
It was a nice republic while we had it. Afraid of President Full Diaper? Gutless,useless autocrats.
Thank you Kristen for your service and your fact based insightful replies. Clearly it appears that some of these naysayers have forgotten about Watergate…
A gifted attorney and former Assistant United States Attorney had to consider the potential for retaliation by the Trump administration (“This is a president who retaliates,” “And an attorney general who enables retaliation”) before speaking about a matter of public importance. We ought to have a government that we can criticize freely without any fear of reprisal.
Selective outrage is always rampant on both sides of the political spectrum. It was crickets from the left when AG Lynch discussed “grandchildren” with Hillary Clinton on the tarmac, and AG Eric Holder (who referred to himself as President Obama’s “wing man”) refused to turn over documents related to Fast and Furious, and the president invoked executive privilege,..thus escaping that inconvenient little scandal.
By the way, nice photo with Bill Clinton of all people…yet another example of selective outrage from people who love to throw around terms like “misogynist”.
By the way, I think Trump is a first class A-hole….but the hypocrisy coming from the left these days is sickening. I suggest stepping away from the mob mentality of political parties. They are BOTH corrupt. SO glad I became an independent. The air quality still sucks, but the view is much clearer.
Good morning Mr. Sully. I believe your historical recollections are a bit inaccurate, but I agree with your concern about the impropriety of at least one predecessor.
First –although a small point– the tarmac discussion was with Bill, not HRC (as you claim above) and Lynch. Lynch claims she was surprised by the visit, and while being polite, ensured she did not talk about anything of substance. More importantly, there WERE consequences and quite a lot of outrage about it, from both the liberal and conservative media. As a consequence, Lynch recused herself from the HRC investigation, even though she never discussed a substantive matter. She recused herself in order to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Assumedly, the HRC emails decision should then have then been announced by Dep. AG Sally Yates, but Republican Comey took it upon himself. You have undoubtedly read the IG’s report, and Dep. AG Rod Rosenstein’s view, both decrying Comey’s conduct in that regard.
Here, in contrast, Barr interjected himself directly in a matter involving a campaign cohort for his boss, the POTUS. As Judge Jackson explained yesterday when she held that interference to be “unprecedented,” that POTUS cohort, Stone was found guilt of lying to Congress as a “cover up” for Trump. Where is the sensitivity to the appearance of impropriety?
As to Holder (about whose conduct in this and other matters a large percentage of DOJ attorneys repeatedly voiced concerns over many years–before social media and broad internet use could permit those concerns to be collected easily and promptly), there were serious consequences for him: he was found in contempt of Congress in 2012. He is the only Cabinet member in the history of the US to have been held in contempt by Congress– a grave stain. Then there was an IG investigation and terminations and discipline for those involved. https://www.politico.com/story/2012/09/justice-probe-clears-holder-in-furious-operation-081396 . Moreover, the SDNY USAO, lead by a Dem appointee, conducted in 2001-2003 a criminal investigation of Holder concerning the alleged abuse of his controversial pardon decision when he was Dep. AG. Therefore, your premise–which is that there are consequences for only one side (the GOP) and not for the other side is the reverse of being historically accurate. There WERE consequences for Holder. Where have the consequences been for Barr?
To the extent that your larger point is that this is not the first AG to disappoint, I agree with you. AGs, as opposed to line assistants, are political appointments. That is why it is of special concern when there is interference with the independent professional decision-making of the nonpolitical career prosecutors. To the extent that you claim that DOJ attorneys have NOT voiced concerns about some of those issues in the past, I disagree.
Thank you for your thoughtful, informative response, Kristan.
James, You are very welcome. I am glad the above was helpful. Kind regards, Kristan