More than 1100 call on Trump-appointed attorney general to resign
More than 1110 former Justice Department officials who served in Republican as well as Democratic administrations posted a statement calling on Attorney General Bill Barr to resign.
"Mr Barr's actions in doing the President's personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words," the officials wrote in a statement.
"Those actions, and the damage they have done to the Department of Justice's reputation for integrity and the rule of law, require Mr Barr to resign.
"But because we have little expectation he will do so, it falls to the Department's career officials to take appropriate action to uphold their oaths of office and defend nonpartisan, apolitical justice."
The rare statement from the officials – mostly former career prosecutors, but also some former political appointees – came in the wake of an extraordinary week at the Justice Department.
In just one week, career prosecutors withdrew from a case after Mr Barr overruled their sentencing, the attorney general pushed back against the President in an unusual interview and separately ordered an examination of politically charged cases involving those close to President Donald Trump.
The statement went on to say career attorneys should report any troubling actions they see to the department's Inspector General.
CNN has reached out to the Justice Department for comment. Mr Barr has so far not given any indication that he is considering stepping down from his current role.
Th upheaval at the Justice Department began when all four federal prosecutors who took the case against Roger Stone to trial withdrew from the case Tuesday afternoon after Mr Barr overruled their sentencing recommendation hours after the President criticised it on Twitter.
Mr Barr on Thursday claimed he couldn't do his job with Mr Trump publicly commenting on sensitive investigations, but insisted the Justice Department had acted appropriately, and, without explanation, suggested prosecutors' recommended sentence for Mr Stone was too harsh.
In an interview with ABC News, Mr Barr defended the department's rank-and-file.
"I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me," the attorney general said.
How Barr's actions have prosecutors worried
It was a notable zag for Mr Barr after days of mounting scrutiny, and on Friday, the Justice Department informed former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe – a frequent target of Mr Trump's ire – it was dropping charges against him.
At the time, Mr Barr ordered a re-examination of several high-profile cases, including that of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, US officials briefed on the matter say.
The move could bring fresh scrutiny of the political motives behind actions at the Justice Department.
Prosecutors across the country have been incensed and worried about what some perceive as growing political directives coming from Washington.
On the West Coast, one federal prosecutor said there was an overwhelming sense of "outrage" felt in his office.
A prosecutor on the East Coast voiced concern about the potential impact of political interference on juries and judges, who could perceive that cases aren't being brought objectively.
And a former prosecutor said his clients have expressed concern about cooperating with investigations out of fear that the Justice Department could interfere improperly in a case, putting them in jeopardy.
Why Barr's behaviour is 'just not normal'
Several Democratic senators, including presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, last week also called for Mr Barr to resign.
Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar echoed that call Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union", but added she does not expect Mr Barr to step down.
"Sure, I'd be glad if he resigned. I just don't think that is realistic," the Minnesota senator said, adding, "But what I think is realistic is that he is now going to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee".
"I'd also like him to come to the Senate. And, along with my colleagues, I have asked him to do that, so we can probe him on the role of the President in trying to influence decisions in the Department of Justice, in particular the (Roger) Stone decision."
Ms Klobuchar told CNN's Dana Bash that Mr Barr's involvement in the case is "just not normal".
"I just think it's outrageous, knowing how hard these career prosecutors work to do the right thing, how hard they worked on a case like Roger Stone's, got him convicted, and then get undermined when it comes to the sentencing," she said.
"That's just not normal."