Attorney General William Barr has been at the center of a political firestorm after intervening to call for Roger Stone’s sentence to be lightened. On Thursday night, Barr decided to do an interview with ABC News to set the record straight on the situation, criticizing President Donald Trump for making his job harder.
Barr took aim at the president during the interview and said that it’s “time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.”
He went on to add that Trump’s tweets “about the department, about people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending here, and about judges before whom we have cases, 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.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cheered Barr’s comments, saying that Trump should listen to his attorney general.
House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy said that Barr’s only concern is seeking justice.
But as The Washington Post reports, some people did not believe what he was saying. While many conservatives responded positively to Barr’s comments, critics didn’t believe that he was being straightforward about his motives for making the comments.
Some critics say that Trump’s tweets reveal his motives, which is why Barr doesn’t want him making them public.
Val Demings, a Democrat Representative from Florida, said that while Trump’s tweets probably make Barr’s job more difficult, “he’s not making it harder for Barr to do the right thing, he’s making it harder for him to get away with doing the wrong thing.”
Demings went on to say that he wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Barr and Trump had collaborated on Barr’s Thursday message.
Barr’s comments come after he intervened to help Stone — a Trump associate who was convicted of lying to Congress and witness tampering — get a reduced sentence and Trump tweeted a congratulatory message thanking him for his decision. The prosecutors handling the case immediately stepped down and critics have said that the situation undermines the independence and integrity of the Justice Department.
Recent reports indicate that the implications of the situation have extended beyond the single case, with some prosecutors reportedly saying that they’re afraid to take on cases that could draw Trump’s attention or anger. As The Inquisitr previously reported, prosecutors also worry that they’ll be left to hang by the Justice Department if a case involving Trump’s associates or friends becomes politically controversial.