Trump thanks Justice Department for softening sentence request for ally Roger Stone

Clay Curtis
February 14, 2020

His interview came as Trump stands accused of interfering with the sentencing recommendation for his former advisor, Roger Stone - prompting four Justice Department prosecutors to resign from the case this week.

"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".

Regardless of what happened within the DOJ, however, Frankel said ultimately, the department's reversal is unlikely to help Stone's case because "fundamentally, the decision about sentencing is one that is exclusive to the judge". Which is one of the reasons Trump's interference was unnecessary.

The DOJ officials stepped in after federal prosecutors recommended that Stone, who helped Trump's rise to power, face sentencing within federal guidelines of seven to nine years following his conviction on charges that include lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing the House of Representatives investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian Federation to tip the 2016 election.

"The public statements and tweets. make it impossible to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the department that we are doing our work with integrity", Barr told ABC News.

Paula Reid, CBS News correspondent covering the Justice Department, the White House and legal affairs.

On Tuesday, Trump denied speaking to Barr about the situation, telling reporters: "I stay out of things to a degree that people wouldn't believe". In the 24 hours since I first drafted this letter there is talk of pardoning not only Stone, but Manifort and Flynn, too. After Trump derided the recommendation on Twitter, the DOJ made a new court filing stating that the previous recommendation "does not accurately the Department of Justice's position", and that Stone's sentence should be "far less".

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"On Tuesday, the four main federal prosecutors working on the obstruction and perjury case of Roger J. Stone Jr. shared another distinction: they quit the case".

He added: "You have murderers and drug addicts that don't get nine years".

What the prosecutors had recommended for Stone was just a recommendation, not an actual sentence. "They don't go to jail for nine years", Trump said.

Lindsey Graham, the Republican chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, said he would not call Barr to testify about the revised sentencing decision. (Late on Tuesday, NBC News reported that Barr had made a decision to 'take control of legal matters of personal interest to Donald Trump.') Last night, Trump tweeted that the seven-to-nine-year sentence prosecutors had recommended for Stone was too harsh. Other Democrats accused Trump of purging the US government of perceived enemies following his acquittal on impeachment charges last week.

"The president is again trying to manipulate federal law enforcement to serve his political interests", said Pelosi.

Chuck Schumer, the party's leader in the Senate, asked the Justice Department's internal watchdog to investigate, and Sen.

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