‘It is outrageous that DOJ has deeply damaged the rule of law by withdrawing its recommendation…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Democrats demanded an emergency hearing and investigation into President Donald Trump after he urged the Department of Justice to reconsider prosecutors’ sentence for Roger Stone, one of Trump’s former advisers.
Stone was found guilty in November of seven charges—including making false statements, witness tampering and obstructing a congressional probe.
Stone was sentenced to seven to nine years in prison this week, which prompted Trump—who has the power to fully pardon Stone—to declare the sentence a “miscarriage of justice.”
In response, all four federal prosecutors who made the original sentencing recommendation stepped down.
Attorney General William Barr began looking into the case at Trump’s behest, and congressional Democrats immediately labeled Barr’s actions “political interference” and an “egregious violation of the rule of law.”
By tweet @realDonaldTrump engaged in political interference in the sentencing of Roger Stone. It is outrageous that DOJ has deeply damaged the rule of law by withdrawing its recommendation. Stepping down of prosecutors should be commended & actions of DOJ should be investigated.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) February 12, 2020
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., asking the committee to schedule a hearing for Barr to testify “so that the committee and the American people can understand the Justice Department’s decision to overrule its career prosecutors in this case.”
Several Democrats even demanded that Barr resign.
“Attorney General William Barr should be ashamed and embarrassed and resign as a result of this action directly interfering in the independent prosecution of Roger Stone, simply the latest examples of political interference by the president to alter the independent decisions of the Department of Justice,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., suggested that the only way to resolve this “egregious abuse” is for the inspector general to thoroughly investigate Barr and Trump.
While Barr’s department falls under the purview of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, the White House does not. It is also unlikely that Barr would elect to prosecute himself based on the IG’s recommendations.
Senate Republicans have not yet said whether they will hold a hearing in response to Democrats’ demands.