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Attorney General Bill Barr at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center in July 28. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr dismissed accusations of political interference in criminal cases involving figures connected to President Trump during a speech at Michigan's Hillsdale College Wednesday night.

Details: "What exactly am I interfering with? Under the law, all prosecutorial power is invested in the attorney general," Barr said, per the Washington Post and CNN.

Why it matters: The Department of Justice inspector general's office is investigating Barr's role in the lighter sentencing recommendation for Trump associate Roger Stone, who was convicted of obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress — after career prosecutors had recommended he serve seven to nine years in prison. The prosecutors resigned over the action.

What else he's saying: "Name one successful organization where the lowest level employees’ decisions are deemed sacrosanct. There aren’t any," Barr said to the conservative institution, per his prepared remarks.

  • "Individual prosecutors can sometimes become headhunters, consumed with taking down their target. Letting the most junior members set the agenda might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it’s no way to run a federal agency. 
  • "Good leaders at the Justice Department — as at any organization — need to trust and support their subordinates. But that does not mean blindly deferring to whatever those subordinates want to do."

Go deeper

Trump pardons Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Charles Kushner

Stone and Manafort. Photos: Drew Angerer/Getty Images, Alexandria Sheriff's Office via Getty Images

President Trump granted full pardons to 26 more people on Wednesday night, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Why it matters: It's a continuation of the president's controversial pre-Christmas pardon spree, which began in earnest Tuesday night with pardons for a trio of convicted former GOP congressmen and several military contractors involved in the 2007 massacre of Iraqi civilians.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Dec 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Christmastime for Trumpland convicts

Graphic: CNN

It’s a white, joyous Christmas for convicts with connections to President Trump. The justice system — and the law enforcers who worked years to prosecute these cases — got a big lump of coal. 

Why it matters: A senior administration official with no role in the pardon process tells Axios that people have been approaching him to ask for pardons for themselves, their clients — even their former clients. The request is a sign of the final days free-for-all among people who want to be on Trump’s extensive pardons list for personal and political allies.

Updated Apr 18, 2019 - Politics & Policy

What the Mueller report tells us about Trump and Russia

President Trump at the Helsinki summit with Vladimir Putin. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

The first part of special counsel Robert Mueller's redacted report addresses Russian interference in the 2016 election and any role the Trump campaign may have played in those efforts.

What to know: Mueller defines election interference as comprising of 2 sets of efforts: The social media disinformation campaign carried out by a Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency, and the hacking and dissemination of Democratic emails by Russian intelligence officers. He narrowly defines "coordination" as an "agreement—tacit or express—between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference."

This post is breaking news and will be updated.