Following Trump's antics, federal judges call 'emergency meeting'

As one former prosecutor put it, "This is mind-blowing. I've never heard of anything like it. We are in full on crisis mode."
A gavel sits on a desk inside the Court of Appeals at the new Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center, which celebrated its official opening on Monday Jan. 14, 2013, in Denver.
A gavel sits on a desk inside the Court of Appeals at the new Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center, which celebrated its official opening on Monday Jan. 14, 2013, in Denver.Brennan Linsley / AP

There's no modern precedent for Donald Trump's recent efforts surrounding the justice system and the rule of law. Just over the last week, we've seen the president exert pressure in an ongoing federal criminal case, prompting the resignations of four prosecutors. We've also seen Trump go after the Justice Department, a sitting federal judge, and even a juror in the case of Roger Stone, one of the president's felonious friends.

The conditions have sparked an intensifying political and legal controversy, including calls from over 2,000 former Justice Department lawyers -- from Democratic and Republican administrations -- for Attorney General Bill Barr's resignation. (The number was originally lower, but it roughly doubled over the course of yesterday.)

It appears they're not the only ones concerned about the latest developments. USA Today reported late yesterday:

A national association of federal judges has called an emergency meeting Tuesday to address growing concerns about the intervention of Justice Department officials and President Donald Trump in politically sensitive cases, the group's president said Monday.

The independent Federal Judges Association, led by U.S. District Court Judge Cynthia Rufe, a George W. Bush appointee, was reportedly set to meet in the spring for a conference, but Rufe told USA Today the organization "could not wait" given the severity of the circumstances.

The article added that the group, made up of more than 1,000 federal jurists, "called for the meeting last week after Trump criticized prosecutors' initial sentencing recommendation for his friend Roger Stone and the Department of Justice overruled them."

The Washington Post's Harry Litman, a former U.S. Attorney and former Justice Department official, responded to the news on Twitter, writing, "This is mind-blowing. I've never heard of anything like it. We are in full on crisis mode."

It's worth emphasizing that the Federal Judges Association is unlikely to even try to sanction the president in any kind of formal way -- the jurists' emergency meeting is not part of a legal proceeding -- but it could publicly rebuke Trump for his dangerous recent antics.

Watch this space.