Note: this piece was originally published on CNN, and was written b y Checks & Balances member Donald Ayer.
I recently had the privilege of appearing before the House Judiciary Committee alongside current Department of Justice lawyers Aaron Zelinsky and John Elias, who put their careers on the line to speak up about political interference in cases in which they were personally involved. Zelinsky and Elias spoke in detail, and with total credibility, about the Department’s efforts to lighten the sentence of President Donald Trump’s longtime friend Roger Stone. and about two instances where antitrust investigations appear to have been pursued for political reasons without any sound policy reasons for doing so.
My own testimony
focused on why I believe that Attorney General Bill Barr is a major threat to our legal system and to public trust in it. He does not believe in the central tenet of our system — that no person is above the law — and he has been working full time to confer extraordinary powers on the President that have no place in our system of government.
Here is why I am making such a strong statement. The United States has long had a system of laws that exist independent of any one person. This “rule of law” is far different from the situation in many countries where dictatorial regimes simply make up or change the law as they go along to suit their desires, favor themselves or their friends, or punish their enemies. And it has given Americans a high level of public trust that the laws will be applied fairly and equally to everyone — even to the President.