Virginia Sen. Mark Warner called for Attorney General William Barr’s resignation on Wednesday, saying Barr is “unfit for office” after the attorney general reportedly ordered peaceful protesters to be cleared from near the White House earlier this week.
Warner’s comments also come amid criticism over police tactics used to clear out the protesters ahead of President Donald Trump’s walk across Lafayette Square and the President’s subsequent photo-op in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church on Monday.
In a campaign email with the subject line “Barr Should Resign,” the Democrat cited reporting on the incident and the Justice Department’s decision to drop the criminal case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“One thing is clear: Barr is unfit for office. He is acting as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer instead of fulfilling his duty to act in the public’s best interest,” Warner wrote.
CNN reached out to the Justice Department for comment on Warner’s remarks on Thursday.
Barr on Thursday defended the police tactics used to clear the protesters and said there was “very serious” rioting, a break-in and fires set at historic churches and buildings over the weekend.
“The rioters used crowbars to dig out the pavers” and then used them as projectiles to throw at law enforcement, he said during a news conference. “There were 114 injuries to law enforcement; most of those to federal agents and most of those inflicted around the White House,” Barr said, noting that it is “the responsibility of the federal government” to protect that property and keep everyone safe.
Warner has called for Barr to resign in the past and opposed Barr’s nomination for attorney general in 2018, saying Trump “should withdraw” the nomination because of a memo Barr sent to the Justice Department weighing in on the special counsel Russia investigation.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct that Warner’s statement was released Wednesday.
CNN’s David Shortell contributed to this report.