U.S. Attorney General William Barr and U.S. President Donald Trump attend a signing ceremony for an executive order in the Oval Office of the White House on November 26, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Attorney General William Barr said Thursday that President Donald Trump should stop tweeting about the Department of Justice, complaining that the president’s tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job.”
Barr made the comments in an ABC News interview that aired Thursday afternoon.
“I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases,” Barr told ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas.
“I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody … whether it’s Congress, a newspaper editorial board, or the president,” Barr said. “I’m gonna 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.”
The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Barr’s comments, which marked a rare break between the president and the attorney general.
Barr’s comments came as he, Trump and the DOJ have been sharply criticized by congressional Democrats this week over the department’s decision to reverse a harsh sentencing recommendation for Trump’s friend, Republican political consultant Roger Stone.
The four prosecutors who handled Stone’s trial on Monday night told a judge in a court filing that Stone should serve between seven to nine years in prison, the same span called for under federal sentencing guidelines as determined by U.S. probation officials.
Within hours of that filing, Trump blasted the sentencing recommendation as a “disgrace.” And hours after that, the Justice Department said it would filed a new sentencing suggestion for Stone, calling for a markedly lower prison term.
All four prosecutors quit the case in apparent protest on Tuesday, and one resigned from the Justice Department altogether.
Trump has repeatedly said that he did not direct the Justice Department to lower the recommended sentence for Stone. Doj spokeswoman Kerri Kupec has said the decision to amend the first sentencing memo came before Trump’s first tweets early Tuesday morning.
But Trump has also repeatedly commented on the case to reporters and on Twitter since Tuesday, and he has refused to rule out a pardon for Stone.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., confirmed this week that Barr will testify before the Democrat-led panel at the end of March to answer questions surrounding issues such as Stone’s sentencing.
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Source: US Top News and Analysis