Attorney General William Barr Says He Will Not ‘Be Bullied Or Influenced’ By Trump After Stone Controversy
“Public statements and tweets made about the department, about our people in the department … about cases pending in the department, 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,” Barr said in an interview with ABC.
“I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody,” Bill Barr tells @ABC News.
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) February 13, 2020
His remarks come after he was criticized for seemingly bending to the will of the president by reducing the sentencing recommendation of Trump’s longtime associate Roger Stone.
The decision caused all four prosecutors to quit the Stone case, and one resigned from the department entirely.
Trump complained on Twitter Tuesday that the prosecutors’ recommendation of seven to nine years for lying to Congress and obstructing the investigation into Russian election interference was “unfair.” Hours later, without consulting the prosecutors, the DOJ announced it was reducing the sentencing recommendation.
A spokeswoman for the department said that the decision had been made before the president tweeted.
Trump then congratulated Barr “for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought.”
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. Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted. Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2020
In his interview, Barr reaffirmed his independence from the president saying he will not “be bullied or influenced by anybody.”
“The thing I have most responsibility for is the issues that are brought to me for decision,” Barr said.” “And I will make those decisions based on what I think is the right thing to do, and I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody … whether it’s Congress, newspaper editorial boards or the president.”
He added: “I’m going to do what I think is right and I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said Trump “wasn’t bothered” by Barr’s criticism of his Twitter use, but noted that “he has the right, just like any American citizen, to publicly offer his opinions.”
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