The headline sounded ominous: “Former Justice Dept. Lawyers Press for Barr to Step Down,” blared an article in Sunday’s New York Times. More than 1,100 former federal prosecutors signed a letter to condemn Attorney General William Barr and encourage Justice Department employees to tattle on the nation’s top lawman if they see anything naughty.
The lawyers were outraged at Barr’s decision to override “line prosecutors,” including two holdovers from the Robert Mueller investigation, who had recommended an excessive sentence against Roger Stone. “Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words,” they wrote. “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.”
Times reporter Katie Benner, trying to make the stunt look like a legitimate grassroots effort, attributed the letter to Protect Democracy, which she described as a “nonprofit legal group.” But Protect Democracy is not an organic activist group spontaneously created by high-minded legal experts alarmed by Trump’s alleged flouting of the rule of law. Protect Democracy was launched in early 2017 as part of an extensive anti-Trump operation managed by a leftwing tech billionaire: Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay. This is who is behind Protect Democracy and a number of other nonprofits formed to destroy the president.
In 2018, according to the group’s most recent tax filing, Protect Democracy collected nearly $7 million in donations; Omidyar’s most politically-active nonprofit, Democracy Fund, has donated $2 million since 2017. Democracy Fund is spending tens of millions each year to underwrite dozens of anti-Trump projects. “Over the past two years, I have seen alarming and sometimes unprecedented violations of our country’s democratic norms,” Joe Goldman, the fund’s president, wrote in 2018.
Protect Democracy houses a number of former Democratic staffers—including a former aide to U.S. Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)—and Obama White House alumni. Ricki Seidman, last seen advising Christine Blasey Ford, is a director for Protect Democracy.
Several NeverTrumpers also are involved with Protect Democracy; National Review columnists Mona Charen and Linda Chavez, ABC News pundit Matthew Dowd, and failed presidential candidate Evan McMullin serve as advisors. As I’ve reported before, Omidyar is the sugar daddy for many NeverTrump outlets. The Bulwark, the offshoot of the shuttered Weekly Standard, is partially funded by Omidyar: Charlie Sykes, the Bulwark’s editor-in-chief, serves on the board of Democracy Fund.
Omidyar also funds Republicans for the Rule of Law, headed by Bill Kristol; Lawfare, a central peddler of Russian collusion hoax propaganda; R Street, home to disgraced FBI lawyer James Baker; and Stand-Up Republic, headed by McMullin. All have been on the attack against Trump and Barr.
The letter dominated social media on Sunday; #FormerJusticeDept trended most of the day. Other news outlets picked up Benner’s misleading account of the stunt. But despite what the Times and other reporters want the public to believe, it was far from authentic—just another Destroy Trump mission funded by leftists to deceive and inflame the public.