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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr told ABC News in an interview Thursday that President Trump's "constant background commentary" about the Justice Department “make it impossible for me to do my job," adding, “I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases."

Why it matters: It's a rare public rebuke of the president by the attorney general, who has faced allegations of politicizing the Justice Department.

Driving the news: President Trump acknowledged in a tweet Wednesday that Barr had personally intervened to overrule career prosecutors' sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone. Trump congratulated Barr on Twitter for "taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought."

  • Stone was indicted in the Mueller investigation and convicted for lying about his efforts to find out more about the timing of WikiLeaks' release of damaging emails related to Hillary Clinton.
  • Trump has called the seven- to nine-year sentencing recommendation Stone initially received "a disgrace" and left open the possibility of a pardon.

What he's saying: Asked if he was prepared to take the blowback for criticizing the president, Barr responded: “Of course.”

  • "As I said during my confirmation, I came in to serve as attorney general. I am responsible for everything that happens in the department, but the thing I have most responsibility for are the issues that are brought to me for decision."
  • "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. I’m gonna do what I think is right."

Barr said that with respect to the Stone decision, Trump's late-night tweet put him in an especially difficult position. Both the White House and Justice Department have insisted there was no coordination and that the decision to intervene in the Stone case was made before Trump's tweet.

  • “Do you go forward with what you think is the right decision or do you pull back because of the tweet? And that just sort of illustrates how disruptive these tweets can be,” he said.

In response to the interview, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham issued the following statement:

"The President wasn't bothered by the comments at all and he has the right, just like any American citizen to publicly offer his opinions. [He has] full faith and confidence in Attorney General Barr to do his job and uphold the law."

Go deeper: House Judiciary Committee says Barr has agreed to testify

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel almost resigned over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel almost resigned in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelations stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

NRA declares bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment."

The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.