US Attorney General William Barr says some of President Trump's tweets are making it 'impossible' for him to do his job. Barr was speaking about the president's tweets in connection with the Roger Stone case.
US prosecutors in the case had recommended a 7- to 9-year sentence for Stone after convictions on lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstruction in connection with the Mueller probe.
The Justice Department overruled that recommendation, saying the sentence "would not be appropriate." Then four US prosecutors withdrew from the Roger Stone case after the milder sentencing recommendation. That raised questions as to whether the attorney general intervened on behalf of Stone, who is the president's acquaintance, especially in light of a presidential tweet calling the recommended sentence a "miscarriage of justice."
The president also tweeted: “Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought.”
Speaking to ABC News, the attorney general said he made the decision on his own, before any tweets came out.
"I had made a decision that I thought was fair and reasonable in this particular case and once the tweet occurred, the question is, 'Well, now what do I do?' And do you go forward with what you think is the right decision or do you pull back because of the tweet? And that just sort of illustrates how disruptive these tweets can be," Barr explained.
He also said, "I have a problem with some of, some of the tweets. The president has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case. However, having public statements and tweets made about the department, about our people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending in the department, and about judges before whom we have cases, make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the department that we're doing our work with integrity."
Now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling the incident another presidential 'abuse of power' that should be investigated by Congress.
"This is an abuse of power that the president is again trying to manipulate federal law enforcement to serve his political interests. And the president is what he is, he thinks he's above the law," Pelosi charged, further calling it a "blatant violation of the rule of law".
A new tweet by President Trump could add further fuel to Democrats' threats to investigate him on the matter. Trump tweeted Friday: " 'The President has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.' - A.G. Barr This doesn't mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!"
"The President has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case." A.G. Barr This doesn't mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2020
His statement about having the right to intervene in criminal cases is what's causing another outcry from critics.
Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said everything is ok between Trump and Barr.
"The president wasn't bothered by the comments at all and he has the right, just like any American citizen to publicly offer his opinions," White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. "The president has full faith and confidence in Attorney General Barr to do his job and uphold the law."