As Democrats criticize Attorney General William Barr for showing interest in a case involving an ally of President Donald Trump, an analysis of several attorneys general for Democratic administrations behaved similarly.
Barr came under fire last week for intervening in the sentencing of Roger Stone, whom had been recommended to serve seven to nine years by the four federal prosecutors handling his case.
The AG said in various interviews over the past few days that he believed the sentence recommendation was far too harsh given the actual crimes. Barr also said he intervened because the eventual recommendation was different than what he was originally briefed.
In any event, the Washington Times reported Monday that Democrat attorneys general also had a history of intervening in high-profile, politically sensitive cases.
“Those include Justice Department interventions under Eric H. Holder Jr. in a voter intimidation case, Loretta Lynch in the Hillary Clinton email abuse scandal, and Janet Reno on possibly illegal campaign fundraising calls by President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore,” the paper reported.
As for Barr, he also intervened as Trump’s AG in a graft case involving Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, over allegations he accepted gifts from a supporter in exchange for political favors.
Shortly after President Barack Obama took office, Holder intervened in a case against members of the New Black Panther Party, who were accused by the Bush administration of intimidating voters at polling precincts in Philadelphia.
His ordering that charges be dropped led to one federal prosecutor resigning.
“Incredibly, after the case was dismissed, instructions were given that no more cases against racial minorities like the Black Panther case would be brought by the Voting Section,” said J. Christian Adams in a column at the time. Adams was a voting rights attorney for the department.
Holder also famously referred to himself as Obama’s “wing man.”
Meanwhile, former FBI Director James Comey testified to Congress that Attorney General Lynch instructed him to refer to the investigation into former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s email abuse as a “matter,” not a criminal investigation.
Comey said the characterization was the same as the one used by the Clinton camp.
And in 1997, Attorney General Janet Reno overruled FBI Director Louis J. Freeh and decided not to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate possible illegal campaign fundraising calls made by President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.