William Barr's Conduct for Trump 'Will Wreak Lasting Damage' Says Ex-Attorney General: 'He Is Unfit to Lead'

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder accused the incumbent William Barr of being "unfit to lead the justice department" because he is operating in the personal interests of President Donald Trump and not the American people.

Barr's critics claim he is inappropriately using his office to defend Trump's interests, such as his alleged mischaracterization of the Mueller report before it was public and his criticism of Inspector General Michael Horowitz's review into the FBI's handling of its Russia probe.

Holder, who served as attorney general in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2015, wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post that Barr was "until recently a widely respected lawyer" and that he hoped his successor would "serve as a responsible steward of the department."

"Virtually since the moment he took office, though, Barr's words and actions have been fundamentally inconsistent with his duty to the Constitution," Holder wrote in the Post. "Which is why I now fear that his conduct—running political interference for an increasingly lawless president—will wreak lasting damage."

Before the justice department released the final Mueller report, Barr provided his own summary of the special counsel's main findings. But after the report emerged Democrats and others accused Barr of having misled Congress and the American public about it.

This week, the Horowitz report found no evidence of political bias in the FBI's opening of its Crossfire Hurricane investigation, which probed Russia's election meddling and individuals linked to the Trump 2016 campaign. Trump maintains that the FBI was biased against him.

The report did sharply criticize the FBI for its handling of FISA applications to place one campaign adviser under surveillance. But Barr was not satisfied, insisting that there is evidence of political bias in the investigation, despite Horowitz's conclusions.

"I think there were gross abuses…and inexplicable behavior that is intolerable in the FBI," Barr told NBC News in an interview on Tuesday. "I think that leaves open the possibility that there was bad faith."

Barr is awaiting the results of a separate review led by U.S. Attorney for Connecticut John Durham into the FBI and its intelligence-gathering processes around Crossfire Hurricane. Barr still accuses the FBI of spying on Trump's campaign, which the bureau denies.

"The American people deserve an attorney general who serves their interests, leads the Justice Department with integrity and can be entrusted to pursue the facts and the law, even—and especially—when they are politically inconvenient and inconsistent with the personal interests of the president who appointed him," Holder wrote in the Post.

"William Barr has proved he is incapable of serving as such an attorney general. He is unfit to lead the Justice Department."

Newsweek has contacted the justice department for comment via its press inquiry website and this article will be updated if one is provided.

William Barr Attorney General Trump Eric Holder
U.S. Attorney General William Barr attends an event to present the Attorney Generals Award for Distinguished Service in Policing at the U.S. Department of Justice on December 3, 2019 in Washington, DC. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder accused Barr of being unfit for his role. Drew Angerer/Getty Images