Calls Growing For New Impeachment Hearings Of Donald Trump After Abrupt Sentencing Change For Roger Stone

Donald Trump sits in a cabinet meeting.
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There are growing calls for Democrats to launch a new impeachment inquiry into whether Donald Trump played a role in the abrupt change in sentencing guidelines for longtime associate Roger Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress and threatening potential witnesses.

This week, prosecutors within the Department of Justice who handled Stone’s case recommended to a judge that he serve between seven and nine years in prison for his conviction. That prompted Donald Trump to speak out on Twitter, calling the recommendation unfair and excessive, claiming that it was the “other side” that had done wrong, not Stone. Within hours, the Department of Justice made what was seen as a stunning reversal, overruling its own original recommendation and calling it “excessive and unwarranted.” In the wake of the change, the four prosecutors who worked on the case — Aaron Zelinsky, Adam Jed, Jonathan Kravis and Michael Marando — all resigned.

As the New York Times reported, the prosecutors did not learn about the Department of Justice’s surprise reversal until it was reported on Fox News. Trump has since taken to Twitter to praise Attorney General William Barr for “taking charge” of the case and helping Stone, one of Trump’s longest-serving political advisers who played a key role in his successful 2016 presidential campaign. Trump also blasted the judge overseeing the case, insinuating that she was biased against other Trump associates whose cases she oversaw.

There are now calls from some top Democrats to investigate what role Barr played in reversing the original sentencing, as well as what direct influence Trump may have had. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked the Justice Department’s independent watchdog to investigate the reversal, sending a letter to Inspector General Michael Horowitz claiming that the decision appeared to be “improper political interference in a criminal prosecution.”

“The American people must have confidence that justice in this country is dispensed impartially. That confidence cannot be sustained if the president or his political appointees are permitted to interfere in prosecution and sentencing recommendations in order to protect their friends and associates,” Schumer wrote.

Many others have called for a new impeachment investigation to start, seeing the action as an abuse of Trump’s power.

The public reversal on Stone’s sentencing recommendation came just days after Trump was acquitted on two articles of impeachment, including one saying he abused his power as president by calling on Ukraine to launch an investigation of his potential political rival, Joe Biden.