Questions over Trump role in reduced sentence for top ally

William Barr

News broke Tuesday that the Justice Department had overrruled the sentencing recommendation.

Attorney General William Barr delivers remarks at the National Sheriffs' Association Winter Legislative and Technology Conference in Washington on February 10, 2020.

Lindsey Graham, the Republican chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, said he would not call Barr to testify about the revised sentencing decision.

As Jim said, there's - the attorney general and the president can be as chummy as they want. "But the Justice Department showing preferential treatment for Trump's criminal accomplices is a threat to the country". This turn has come within a week of the Senate GOP refusing to hold Trump accountable for his impeachable offenses.

The resignations raise questions over whether Trump had at least indirectly exerted his will on a Justice Department he often views as an arm of the White House.

After chastising the prosecutors and judge in the trial of his longtime adviser Roger Stone, President Donald Trump on Thursday criticized the jury that convicted the veteran Republican operative, raising further concerns about political interference in the US judicial system. He was charged with witness tampering, obstructing an official proceeding, and five counts of making false statements and convicted on them late a year ago.

The intervention prompted the four federal prosecutors who had successfully taken Stone's case to trial to withdraw their involvement Tuesday.

Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA) told CNN anchor Jake Tapper on Wednesday that while Democrats in the House of Representatives do not "wake up in the morning wanting to impeach" President Trump, no options are off the table in response to Roger Stone's new sentencing.

In a tweet, Trump blasted the original sentencing recommendation as "horrible" and "unfair". All four of the prosecutors who recommended Stone's seven to nine year sentence either resigned or quit the case after the DOJ weighed in.

After the Justice Department decision on Stone's case, Mr Trump praised Attorney-General William Barr for, "taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought".

The committee says they are now in the process of raising money to help defray the cost of Stone's legal bills in the event of a likely appeal "and to establish a fund to care for his wife Nydia and their family" who have apparently been "left destitute after paying millions in legal fees".

But he told the House committee in September 2017 that he never described to anyone involved in the Trump campaign his conversations with an intermediary to WikiLeaks. At issue was Stone's pursuit of Russian-hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential bid.

This story was reported by The Associated Press.



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