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Law & the Courts

Trump Congratulates AG Barr for ‘Taking Charge’ of Roger Stone Case

(Reuters photo: Carlos Barria)

President Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to congratulate his attorney general, William Barr, for “taking charge” of the Roger Stone case after all four prosecutors on the case withdrew over a disagreement with Department of Justice officials regarding the severity of their sentencing recommendation.

“Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought,” Trump tweeted. He also claimed that “the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted. Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!”

Trump tweeted early on Tuesday morning that Stone’s original sentencing recommendation was “a miscarriage of justice.” The government had suggested at least seven to nine years in prison for Stone, who had been found guilty in November of obstructing justice, witness tampering, and lying to Congress over his alleged contacts with Wikileaks about Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Stone has repeatedly denied that he had any actual contacts with Wikileaks, but former Trump campaign officials testified that he often bragged about being a source with pertinent information.

Later on Tuesday, DOJ sources said that the sentencing recommendation issued by the four prosecutors — three of whom had previously worked with former special counsel Robert Mueller — was “extreme, excessive and grossly disproportionate” and had not been according to their expectations.

All four prosecutors ended up withdrawing from the case, and a new court filing on Tuesday recommended “far less” time in federal prison for Stone, after the original recommendation did “not accurately reflect the Department of Justice’s position on what would be a reasonable sentence in this matter.”

Democrats immediately suggested that Trump had forced Barr to get involved in the case of Stone, who is a longtime friend of Trump’s. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said he would formally request that “the DOJ Inspector General must open an investigation immediately,” while Obama-administration attorney general Eric Holder called the move “unprecedented” and “ultimately dangerous.”

During a bill signing at the White House on Tuesday, Trump told reporters that he had not spoken to Barr regarding the situation. “I stay out of things to a degree that people wouldn’t believe, but I didn’t speak to them,” the president stated, adding that he “thought the recommendation was ridiculous, I thought the whole prosecution was ridiculous.”

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