AG Barr says he won’t cave to pressure from Trump despite repeatedly doing what Trump publicly demands

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Attorney General William Barr told ABC News in an exclusive interview that President Donald Trump has “never” asked him “to do anything in a criminal case.”
He also said his main priority is ensuring that he and the DOJ remain free from political interference or pressure.
His comments are intriguing, particularly given that Barr has repeatedly capitulated to Trump’s demands since taking over the top job at the DOJ as compared to his predecessor, Jeff Sessions, who shielded the Russia probe from political interference.
The attorney general has a long record of intervening in legal matters of interest to Trump and of parroting Trump’s conspiratorial language targeting his perceived political foes. Barr has also said he and Trump meet several times per week.
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Attorney General William Barr told ABC News in an exclusive interview that President Donald Trump has “never” asked him “to do anything in a criminal case.”

“I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody … whether it’s Congress, a newspaper editorial board, or the president,” Barr told the outlet. “I’m going to do what I think is right. And you know … I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”

He was referring in part to Trump’s tweets, which frequently demand that the Justice Department show leniency toward his associates and crack down on his perceived political enemies.

“I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases,” Barr said, because they “make it impossible for me to do my job.”

Most recently, Barr and senior leadership overrode the sentencing recommendation that career prosecutors handling the federal case against Trump’s associate, Roger Stone, made to a court this week.

Prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Stone to seven to nine years in prison after he was convicted of seven felony counts of obstruction, witness tampering, and false statements.

Shortly after prosecutors filed their recommendation, Trump took to Twitter to say it was “horrible and unfair” and a “miscarriage of justice.” The tweet was one of several in which Trump praised Stone, attacked the judge and prosecutors handling the case, and called for leniency toward the former GOP strategist.

Hours later, senior DOJ officials overruled the prosecutors, said the initial recommendation was “extreme and excessive and disproportionate to Stone’s offenses,” and recommended a lower sentence.

The next day, Trump congratulated Barr for the decision.

“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,” the president tweeted.

The series of events alarmed law enforcement veterans, some of whom told Insider they couldn’t “recall a worse day” for the DOJ.

But Barr told ABC News that he had already decided to ask for a lesser sentence in Stone’s case before Trump blasted out his tweet calling the initial recommendation “horrible and unfair,” and that the president’s public comments put him in a tough spot.

“Do you go forward …read more


Source:: Business Insider

      

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