Moments ago, President Trump reacted tot he resignation of 4 prosecutors in the Roger Stone case by congratulating Attorney General Barr.
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!
Chicago Tribune reports the four lawyers who prosecuted Roger Stone quit the case after the Justice Department overruled them and said it would take the extraordinary step of lowering the amount of prison time it would seek for President Donald Trump’s longtime ally and confidant.
The departures on Tuesday raised immediate questions over whether Trump, who earlier in the day had blasted the original sentencing recommendation as “very horrible and unfair,” had at least indirectly exerted his will on a Justice Department that he often views as an arm of the White House.
The department insisted the decision to undo the sentencing recommendation was made Monday night — before Trump’s tweet — and prosecutors had not spoken to the White House about it. Even so, the departures of the entire trial team broke open a simmering dispute over the punishment of a Trump ally whose case has long captured the Republican president’s attention. The episode was the latest to entangle the Justice Department, meant to operate free from White House sway in criminal investigations and prosecutions, in presidential politics.
The four attorneys, including two who were early members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia team, comprised the entire Justice Department trial team that won convictions against Stone last fall.
Each had signed onto a Monday sentencing memo that recommended between seven and nine years in prison for Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to tip the 2016 election. None lent their names to a Tuesday memo that called the original recommendation excessive.
The departures leave in limbo the resolution of a case that was one of the signature prosecutions of Mueller’s team and that cut to the heart of his mission — to determine whether the Trump team had access to nonpublic information about Democratic emails hacked by Russian operatives and provided to WikiLeaks.
Trump was back on the attack late Tuesday, slamming the original sentencing recommendation and questioning the judge overseeing the Stone case. And by early Wednesday, he had tweeted a congratulations to Attorney General William Barr “for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have been brought,” suggesting the prosecutors had gone rogue.
The Week reports President Trump is seemingly dishing out some behind-the-scenes retribution for federal prosecutors’ handling of the Roger Stone case.
Trump withdrew his nomination for former U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu to become the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes, two sources told Axios on Tuesday. Liu oversaw the Justice Department case against Stone, a friend and top supporter of Trump, until she stepped down from her position in December in anticipation of Trump’s nomination.
Trump’s reported decision comes the day after federal prosecutors recommended a 7–9 year prison sentence for Stone’s November conviction on charges of lying, obstruction of justice, and witness-tampering. Trump protested the decision in a tweet, and the DOJ stepped in to override the initial recommendation, prompting all four prosecutors to step down from the case and one to even leave the department altogether.
Liu’s reported withdrawal came abruptly, as she was scheduled to have her confirmation hearing for the position on Thursday. One source who spoke to Axios said the withdrawal was “the president’s call,” and another who spoke to CNN didn’t deny it had something to do with Stone’s sentencing recommendation.
The DOJ explained its reversal on the Stone case later Tuesday, recommending an unspecified prison sentence for Stone that was at least “far less” than prosecutors originally suggested.