The Federal Judges Association is calling an emergency meeting to discuss President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr’s alleged interference in Roger Stone’s trial. The unprecedented move comes after more than 2,000 judges wrote an open letter calling for Barr to step down and for Department of Justice employees to be diligent about reporting behavior within the department.
U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe, who heads the association, said that the matter was so pressing that it “could not wait,” according to USA Today.
“There are plenty of issues that we are concerned about,” she said. “We’ll talk all of this through.”
Stone, a longtime Trump associate and adviser, was convicted of obstructing Congress and witness tampering. Shortly after Trump reportedly called the recommended sentence of seven to nine years too steep, Barr stepped in to have the sentence reduced. The four prosecutors in Stone’s trial resigned from the case in protest, with one resigning from the Justice Department entirely. Trump later tweeted praise for Barr’s decision to step in on the case.
The situation caused backlash as people expressed concern about the line between the Oval Office and the Justice Department, and many called the move political interference in the judicial system by Trump and Barr.
Shortly after, thousands of former Justice Department officials called for Barr to resign because his behavior violated the principles that all DOJ employees swear to uphold.
“Although there are times when political leadership appropriately weighs in on individual prosecutions, it is unheard of for the department’s top leaders to overrule line prosecutors, who are following established policies, in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the president, as Attorney General Barr did in the Stone case,” the letter stated.
Rufe said that the meeting will involve the executive committee of the association and will have 15-20 officers meet up via conference call. Normally, the committee meets in April to discuss various matters, but she said that the issue was so pressing that it couldn’t wait until the scheduled conference.
Barr admitted last week that he personally stepped in to overrule the decision in the Stone case, as The Inquisitr previously reported. Barr has reportedly denied that the order to interfere in the case came from Trump and said that he had made the decision before Trump called Stone’s sentence unfair.
Barr’s interference has raised concerns across the political spectrum, with his former boss repeating calls for Barr to resign from his position.