In an interview that aired Thursday with ABC News’ Pierre Thomas, Attorney General William Barr urged President Trump to stop “tweeting”, saying the Commander in Chief’s tweets about Roger Stone and other cases are disruptive. He also responded to criticism from Democrats on Capitol Hill, saying that he “expects a lot of low blows”.
“I have a problem with some of the tweets,” the Attorney General admitted, though he confirmed that he and the president have never spoken about the Roger Stone case.
The president had tweeted earlier in the week, venting that the DOJ recommendation of 7-9 years of jail for Roger Stone was “horrible and very unfair”.
“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!” President Trump said Tuesday, sharing a post from a Daily Caller reporter about the federal prosecutors’ recommendation for Stone’s prison sentence.
The tweet marked President Trump’s first reaction to the recommended sentence for his longtime associate, who was found guilty of lying to Congress and witness tampering last fall. Justice Department prosecutors recommended in a Monday filing that Stone serve between 7 and 9 years in prison.
Attorney General Barr said during the ABC News interview that with pending cases at the Justice Department, some of the president’s tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors and the department, that we’re doing our work with integrity.” (Continued Below)
At the same time, the Attorney General pointed out that he is “happy to say” that President Trump has “never asked him to do anything in a criminal case”.
When asked if he is prepared for ramifications because President Trump doesn’t like to be told what to do, the Attorney General replied, “Of course. As I said during my confirmation, I came in to serve as attorney general. I am responsible for everything that happens in the Department, but the thing I have the most responsibility for is the issues that are brought to me for decision. And I will make those decisions based on what I think is the right thing to do.”
AG Barr noted, however, that he is “not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody”, saying: “Whether it’s Congress, newspaper editorial boards, or the president. I’m gonna do what I think is right. I cannot do my job at the Department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.” (Continued Below)
The Attorney General reiterated that he has “never” talked to President Trump about the Roger Stone case, and there was no phone call from the White House to “influence” his decision. “I have not discussed the Roger Stone case at the White House,” he stated.
Pierre Thomas asked about criticism from Democrats on Capitol Hill, who have claimed that the Attorney General is “acting more like the personal attorney to the president, rather than the Chief law enforcement officer”, how irritated does it make him, and what does he say to those people?”
“This goes back to the fact that we are in a very polarized situation. And so, in that kind of situation, I expect a lot of low blows and there are a lot of low blows. But, I don’t respond to that. … I do think in the current situation, as I’ve said, the fact that the tweets are out there and correspond to things we are doing at the Department, sort of give grist to the mill. And that is why I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases,” AG Barr responded. [Emphasis added]. (Video Below)
ABC News’ interview with Attorney General William Barr:
President Trump’s first tweet about the Roger Stone case:
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
Donald Trump Jr tweeted on Thursday:
Have you noticed unhinged Democrats & media attacking AG Barr more & more lately? It’s because he’s an existential threat to the Swamp Creatures who’ve run roughshod over our Govt & our country for far too long. Raise your hand if you back Barr in his war against The Swamp. 🙋🏻♂️
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 13, 2020