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On 2/14/20 11:25 AM, John Reimann via Marxism wrote:
Barr took an enormous hit with that whole event of the recommended sentence
to Stone being withdrawn immediately after Trump's tweet. It was crystal
clear that Trump is now running the (in)Justice Department. And, in fact,
so did Trump. Trump's response was completely out of character for him.
Completely and totally. To just respond that Barr has a right to express
his opinion? No. In my opinion, this was all a set up job, agreed upon
between Trump and Barr in advance, made to try to heal Barr's image.
NY Times, Feb. 14, 2020
Trump Claims ‘Legal Right’ to Interfere in Justice Dept. Cases
By Michael D. Shear
WASHINGTON — President Trump asserted Friday that he had the legal right
to intervene in federal criminal cases, a day after Attorney General
William P. Barr publicly rebuked him for attacks on Justice Department
prosecutors and others involved in the case of Roger J. Stone Jr., the
president’s longtime friend.
In a morning tweet, Mr. Trump quoted Mr. Barr saying that the president
“has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.” The president
said he had “so far chosen” not to interfere in a criminal case even
though he insisted that he was not legally bound to do so.
“This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to
do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!” he said.
Though he and Mr. Barr both said the president had not directly asked
for any specific inquiries, Mr. Trump has long pressured law enforcement
officials both publicly and privately to open investigations into
political rivals and to drop inquiries. Mr. Trump also pressed former
Attorney General Jeff Sessions to retake control of the Russia
investigation after he recused himself.
The assertion by the president, which implicitly rejected a request by
Mr. Barr to stop tweeting about the department’s cases, adds to the
mounting controversy over the decision by senior Justice Department
officials to overrule prosecutors who had recommended a seven- to
nine-year sentence for Mr. Stone, who was convicted of seven felonies in
a bid to obstruct a congressional investigation that threatened the
That recommendation infuriated Mr. Trump, who called the department’s
handling of the case “a disgrace” and later praised Mr. Barr after his
top officials intervened to recommend a lighter sentence for Mr. Stone.
The four prosecutors who were overruled resigned from the case in
protest; one quit the department entirely.
Seeking to calm the upheaval in his department, Mr. Barr issued a
pointed denunciation on Thursday of Mr. Trump’s tweets, which included
criticism of the federal judge overseeing the Stone case and even the
jury forewoman. Mr. Barr said the commentary from the president made it
“impossible for me to do my job” and insisted that “I’m not going to be
bullied or influenced by anybody.”
“I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background
commentary that undercuts me,” said Mr. Barr, who has been one of Mr.
Trump’s closest and most reliable allies since taking over at the
Past presidents in both parties have respected long standing traditions
that are aimed at preventing political influence from the White House on
Justice Department investigations, especially criminal inquiries that
involved administration officials or friends of the president. The rules
have been in place since the Watergate investigation, in which President
Richard M. Nixon sought to pressure the F.B.I.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly ignored those traditions, making contact with
F.B.I. officials and communicating with top Justice Department officials
through Twitter and in person. His claim in Friday’s tweet that he had
“so far chosen” not to interfere in criminal cases is contradicted by a
record of his actions during his three years in office.
Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel in the Russian election
interference inquiry, documented numerous instances in which the
president sought to impede federal investigators as they examined the
activities of Mr. Trump’s White House advisers and former campaign aides
in what could be construed as obstruction of justice. In his final
report, Mr. Mueller said that Justice Department rules did not allow
sitting presidents to be indicted.
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