Bill Barr is setting the stage to interfere in the election — and set a "dangerous" precedent

Bill Barr, Donald Trump and a US election card
Bill Barr, Donald Trump, and a US election card Photo illustration by Salon / Getty Images
US Attorney General William Barr, one of President Donald Trump's most aggressive loyalists in Washington, DC, has worked with the President to claim that mail-in polls encourage election fraud. Reporter Jerry Lambe discusses some of the reactions legal professionals had to Barr's comments in an article published October 7 by Law & Crime. Some of them believe that by meddling in an election he is setting a worrying precedent.
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Citing ProPublica coverage, Lambe said that the US Department of Justice "has told US law firms that a longstanding policy of forbidding the Department from interfering in US elections is no longer followed by prosecutors suspecting election fraud prevents public investigations, even in the US hours before the November 3rd election. "
According to Lambe, the DOJ's Public Integrity Department sent out an email on Friday, October 2, announcing an "exception to the general policy of non-interference" if a US attorney committed a fraud involving postal workers or employees suspected by the US military. That exception, the email said, applies in circumstances where "the integrity of any component of the federal government is compromised by election violations under the Policy, including, but not limited to, federal official or administrative employee misconduct, an aspect of the United States' voting process Postal Service, the Department of Defense, or another federal ministry or other federal agency. "
During an interview with the Chicago Tribune in September, Barr claimed that a postal vote would promote "the business of selling and buying votes".
Barr's critics argue that it is absolutely inappropriate for him to interfere in an election. Attorney Daniel Goldman, who advised House Democrats during the impeachment investigation against Trump, tweeted, "Every DOJ prosecutor and agent must remember that they represent the United States, not Bill Barr or Donald Trump. There is no place in ours Judicial system that the DOJ interferes in elections, for which this change in policy is intended. "
Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School and a former assistant assistant attorney general in the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, described Barr's actions as "deeply counterproductive." And attorney Matthew Miller, a security analyst for MSNBC, called the exception a "dangerous premonition of what Barr was up to."

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