On Thursday, Attorney General William Barr was caught in a rare occurrence: criticizing the president.
“Public statements and tweets made about the department, about 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 department that we’re doing our work with integrity,” Barr said.
Barr’s comments came days after the department overruled federal prosecutors in Roger Stone’s criminal case, a decision that resulted in all four prosecutors quitting the case.
The prosecutors on Monday had recommended that Stone get seven to nine years in prison, a decision Trump lambasted on Twitter as “disgraceful” overnight.
“This is a horrible and very unfair situation,” Trump tweeted, “Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!”
This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice! https://t.co/rHPfYX6Vbv
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 11, 2020
Barr told ABC News that he and his staff had decided to recommend a lower sentence before Trump tweeted because they thought the recommended sentence was too long — but the president’s criticism put them in a tough spot.
“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 continued.
Trump tweeted on Wednesday, “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.”
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. Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted. Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2020
Barr declared, “I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.”
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement that “the president wasn’t bothered by the comments at all,” but she indicated that Trump would not curb his tweets. She said Trump “has the right, just like any American citizen, to publicly offer his opinions. President Trump uses social media very effectively to fight for the American people against injustices in our country, including the fake news.”
Sources told NBC News this week that Barr has made several moves in recent weeks to take control of legal matters of personal interest to the president.
Personally, I love Trump’s tweets! I hope he never stops!
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