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McCarthyism Returns to the US

Group of more than 1,000 judges calls emergency meeting amid Trump concerns

Judges will meet to address alarm over the president intervening in politically sensitive cases

The Department of Justice building in Washington DC.

The Department of Justice building in Washington DC. Photograph: Valery Sharifulin/TASS

A national association of federal judges has called an emergency meeting to address growing concerns about the intervention of Donald Trump and justice department officials in politically sensitive cases, according to US media reports.

Cynthia Rufe, a Philadelphia US district judge who heads the independent Federal Judges Association, which has more than 1,100 members, told USA Today the group “could not wait” until its spring conference to discuss the matter.

“There are plenty of issues that we are concerned about,” Rufe told USA Today. “We’ll talk all of this through.”

The meeting comes after more than 2,000 former US justice department officials, including some of the top government lawyers in the country, called on the attorney general, William Barr, to resign in the wake of the Roger Stone scandal.

group letter that tore into Barr for “doing the president’s personal bidding” in imposing on prosecutors the recommendation of a reduced sentence for Stone, a longtime friend of Trump who was convicted of lying to and obstructing Congress and threatening a witness in the Russia investigation.

Barr, the officials said, had damaged the reputation of the department for “integrity and the rule of law”.

The spiralling constitutional crisis began last week when Barr imposed his new sentencing memo, slashing a seven- to nine-year proposed prison term suggested by career prosecutors. In the fallout, the four prosecutors who had handled the case resigned in disgust.

US district Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is presiding over the Stone’s case, has reportedly ordered both sides to participate in a conference call on Tuesday to discuss the status of the case.

Rufe voiced her strong support for Jackson, according to USA Today.

“I am not concerned with how a particular judge will rule,” Rufe said. “We are supportive of any federal judge who does what is required.”

It was not clear whether the FJA would issue a statement after the emergency meeting. The Guardian contacted the FJA for comment.

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