20 former Republican US attorneys endorse Biden campaign

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks on the coronavirus pandemic during a campaign event on September 2, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. By Christina Carrega, CNN

(CNN) -- Twenty US attorneys, who were appointed and served under Republican presidents as far back as Dwight Eisenhower, announced on Tuesday their endorsement of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

"We firmly believe that Vice President Joe Biden is the candidate who can -- and will -- provide the leadership we need to refocus the Justice Department on the cause of impartial justice and to address the deep-seated societal issues that are roiling our country today," the former US attorneys said in a statement. "We give him our strongest endorsement, and we hereby announce that we will each be voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to serve as the next President and Vice President of the United States."

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The former law enforcement officials also voiced their concerns that President Donald Trump's leadership poses a "threat to the rule of law."

"As the chief federal law enforcement officials in our districts, we were expected to work closely with state and local officials of all political affiliations to build a unified law enforcement partnership to protect and promote justice in our communities," the statement says. "As we watch the turbulent events unfolding in our country today, we are concerned that the President has departed from this traditional mandate in several troubling ways."

It adds, "He has politicized the Justice Department, dictating its priorities along political lines and breaking down the barrier that prior administrations had maintained between political and prosecutorial decision making -- a barrier that has been fundamental to maintaining confidence among the American people that their Justice Department is acting as a fair and impartial arbiter of prosecutorial discretion."

Attorney General William Barr was not named in the statement.

The statement was endorsed with signatures of Republican leaders that span six decades, including William Webster, who served under Eisenhower for the Eastern District of Missouri, to former US Attorney for the District of Nevada Donald Ayer, who served under George W. Bush and Trump.

Earlier this month, The Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law Ad Hoc Working Group, in partnership with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, published a highly critical 273-page report dissecting Barr's leadership.

The bipartisan coalition echoed the concerns of more than 2,000 former prosecutors and other Justice Department officials who earlier this year signed a petition to call out Barr's actions as well as a letter to the editor written by current assistant US Attorney James Herbert that was published in The Boston Globe last month.

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