Attorney General Bill Barr told the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that he does not read President Trump's tweets after being grilled by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) about the president's praise for Roger Stone for not testifying against him.

Why it matters: Barr has previously said that Trump's "constant background commentary" about the Justice Department can "make it impossible" for him to do his job. Stone was convicted of lying to Congress about his efforts to find out more about the timing of WikiLeaks' email dumps and recently had his sentence commuted by Trump.

The big picture: Trump testified in written answers to former special counsel Robert Mueller that he did not recall discussing WikiLeaks with Stone. Evidence from Stone's trial and recently unredacted material from the Mueller report suggest the opposite.

  • Stone later told journalist Howard Fineman: "I had 29 or 30 conversations with Trump during the campaign period. He knows I was under enormous pressure to turn on him. It would have eased my situation considerably. But I didn’t. They wanted me to play Judas. I refused."
  • Democrats have accused Trump of commuting Stone's sentence to ensure that Stone would not incriminate him.

The exchange:

SWALWELL: "If Donald Trump lied to the Mueller investigators, which you agree would be a crime, then Roger Stone was in a position to expose Donald Trump's lies. Are you familiar with the Dec. 3, 2018, tweet where Donald Trump said Roger Stone had shown guts by not testifying against him?"
BARR: "No, I am not familiar with that."
SWALWELL: "You don't read the president's tweets?"
BARR: "No."
SWALWELL: "Well there's a lot of evidence in the president's tweets, Mr. Attorney General, I think you should start reading them."

Go deeper

Judiciary Democrats to grill Barr on "politicization" of DOJ

Barr speaks at the White House July 22. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Judiciary Committee Democrats plan to press Attorney General Bill Barr at a hearing today on what they'll argue is his politicization of the Justice Department to serve President Trump's personal agenda.

Why it matters: Democrats have a lot of pent up frustration over a series of recent policies put forth by the DOJ, and have been preparing months for this moment.

Barr says he's discussed re-election effort with Trump, declines to elaborate

Attorney General Bill Barr told the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that the topic of President Trump's re-election has come up during Cabinet meetings, but he declined to elaborate on what he and Trump have specifically discussed.

The big picture: The hearing is focused on the Justice Department's alleged politicization under Barr. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) questioned Barr on whether he's discussed Trump's re-election in the context of deploying federal law enforcement to Democratic-run cities.

The U.S. is now playing by China's internet rules

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump's crackdown on TikTok suggests that the U.S. government is starting to see the internet more like China does — as a network that countries can and should control within their borders.

The big picture: Today's global internet has split into three zones, according to many observers: The EU's privacy-focused network; China's government-dominated network; and the U.S.-led network dominated by a handful of American companies. TikTok's fate suggests China's model has U.S. fans as well.