Feb 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

GOP congressional leaders issue statement defending Bill Barr

Attorney General Bill Barr. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy issued a statement Tuesday in support of Attorney General William Barr.

Why it matters: More than 2,000 former Justice Department officials have called on Barr to resign for his role in politically sensitive investigations, after he intervened in the case of Trump associate Roger Stone.

  • Career prosecutors sought a prison sentence of seven to nine years for Stone, but the DOJ overruled their sentencing memo and claimed such a sentence would be too harsh.
  • All four prosecutors who tried the Stone case resigned following the DOJ's intervention.

The big picture: Trump has publicly expressed his support for the DOJ's decision, but Barr hasn't welcomed the praise. The attorney general said in an ABC News interview he believes Trump chiming in on the issue makes his job "impossible."

What they're saying:

"Suggestions from outside groups that the Attorney General has fallen short of the responsibilities of his office are unfounded. The Attorney General has shown that he is committed without qualification to securing equal justice under law for all Americans."
— McConnell, Graham and McCarthy

Go deeper: 9 Democratic senators call on Bill Barr to resign over Roger Stone case

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Judges group calls emergency meeting on Roger Stone case intervention

President Trump with Attorney General Bill Barr at the White House last July. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Federal Judges Association told USA Today the independent group called an emergency meeting Tuesday to address "growing concerns" about the Department of Justice, Attorney General Bill Barr, President Trump and the intervention of "politically sensitive cases."

Why it matters: This is another example of the scrutiny Barr is facing from not only Democrats but also members of the legal community — from both sides of the political aisle — following his intervention in the sentencing of President Trump's associate Roger Stone last week.

House Democrats request interviews with prosecutors who quit Roger Stone case

Rep. Jerry Nadler. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Judiciary Committee Democrats are seeking interviews with four prosecutors who resigned from the Roger Stone case after the Justice Department intervened to recommend a shorter sentence for the former Trump associate.

What's happening: In a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr sent Friday, House Democrats requested interviews with 15 current and former Justice Department officials as part of an effort to investigate allegations of Trump interference into the DOJ.

Roger Stone sentenced to more than 3 years in prison

Roger Stone arriving for his sentencing hearing. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Longtime Trump associate Roger Stone was sentenced Thursday to 4o months in prison for crimes that include obstruction of justice, lying to Congress and witness tampering.

Why it matters: Stone is the seventh person to be convicted and sentenced for crimes unearthed by former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. His case has been at the heart of ongoing tensions between President Trump and his Justice Department.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy