Top Democrats on Thursday vowed to launch an investigation into alleged ‘meddling’ by Attorney General William Barr in the sentencing of a longtime ally of President Donald Trump.
Democrats have also hinted that Barr could also be impeached after he moved to recommend a lighter sentence for Roger Stone, who was convicted last year of witness tampering, lying to Congress, and obstruction as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ probe.
Barr is under intense scrutiny from the left for alleged “misuse of the criminal justice system” involving not only the Stone case, but the removal in January of U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu and accepting Ukraine-related information from Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Fox News reported Friday.
The attorney general is scheduled to appear before the Democrat-controlled House Judiciary Committee March 31 and will likely face questions about all three of those issues.
“In your tenure as Attorney General, you have engaged in a pattern of conduct in legal matters relating to the President that raises significant questions for this Committee,” wrote House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) in a letter confirming that Barr would testify, which he signed along with some of his fellow committee members.
“In the past week alone, you have taken steps that raise grave questions about your leadership of the Department on Justice,” Nadler said.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said Barr “ought to be ashamed and embarrassed and resign as a result of this action directly interfering in the independent prosecution of Roger Stone.” He also said the controversy was yet another example of “political interference by the president to alter the independent decisions of the Department of Justice.”
Earlier in the week, four U.S. attorneys handling Stone’s case resigned after the Justice Department pushed back on their recommendation that he receive between seven and nine years in prison.
In an interview with ABC News Thursday night, Barr said he and others in the DoJ believed that sentence was “excessive” given sentencing guidelines and the nature of Stone’s crimes.
“I’m gonna do what I think is right, and you know, I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me,” he told ABC News in a criticism of the president’s tweets criticizing the Stone sentencing recommendation.