Bill Barr Is Undermining the DOJ and 'Not Fit for Office,' Former Deputy Attorney General Who Worked With Him Says

U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr has proven himself unfit for office by consistently defending President Donald Trump's improper interference in Department of Justice matters, a former deputy attorney general has warned.

Donald Ayer, who served under President George H. W. Bush and has worked alongside Barr, told MSNBC's The Beat With Ari Melber on Thursday that the attorney general's loyalty to the president is damaging confidence in the DOJ.

Barr's critics accuse him of acquiescing to the president over the sentencing of former Trump aide and longtime GOP operative Roger Stone.

Federal prosecutors recommended a seven to a nine-year jail sentence for Stone. Amid Trump's criticism of the case, the DOJ in a court filing questioned the recommendation of the Stone prosecutors and suggested a lesser sentence.

The four prosecutors who brought the Stone case subsequently resigned in protest. Trump, meanwhile, praised Barr for "taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought."

Barr hit back against Trump on Thursday, suggesting the president's tweets "make it impossible for me to do my job." Barr did, however, claim that the president "has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case."

Ayer dismissed his complaint, telling Melber that Barr has established a pattern of defending Trump.

"I don't think he's fit for the office because I think what he's done is undertake a campaign essentially to undermine the Department of Justice," Ayer said. "Nothing he said today changes anything."

Though his recent conduct "is bad enough," Ayer said it is important "to focus on the whole pattern of events that he has engaged in since he came in as attorney general."

This includes Barr's alleged misrepresentation of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling and his attacks on the FBI amid Republican allegations that the agency spied on the Trump campaign, Ayer explained.

Still, Ayer said Barr's approach to the Stone case "is probably one of the worst examples of...intervening out of the usual course in order to protect Donald Trump."

Ayer stressed that DOJ transparency and process are vital in maintaining the reputation of the department. He warned that the politicization of the DOJ—with Barr as the prime example—is damaging the body.

"We're losing an ability to have confidence that the department is not going to be influenced by improper forces," Ayer explained.

"When you think about someone goes easy on someone because they're the president's friend, well what about the problem of going hard on someone because they're his enemy? Then you really see the problem."

The DOJ has been asked for comment.

Bill Barr, DOJ, Donald Ayer, Roger Stone
Attorney General William Barr participates in a press conference at the Department of Justice on February 10, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images/Getty