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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

DOJ says Trump's tweets "declassifying" Russia documents are not orders

llustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Attorneys from the Department of Justice argued in court on Tuesday that President Trump's tweets authorizing the "total declassification of any & all documents" related to the Russia investigation and Hillary Clinton's emails should not be considered real declassification orders.

Why it matters: BuzzFeed News reporter Jason Leopold cited the tweets in an emergency motion last week seeking to gain access to special counsel Robert Mueller's unredacted report as part of a Freedom of Information Act request.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sydney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

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