Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham on Monday defended Attorney General William Barr against calls for his resignation, calling the effort a “political hit job.”
Graham, a South Carolina Republican, dismissed a letter signed by 1,100 former Justice Department officials, U.S. attorneys and political appointees as just the latest attempt by President Trump’s detractors to undermine his administration.
The letter demanded that Barr resign over his ‘meddling’ in the sentencing of longtime Trump ally Roger Stone, whom prosecutors had recommended he receive between seven and nine years in federal prison, which Barr said he found excessive given the nature of his crimes.
“There’s a process in place, and I don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past,” Graham told Fox News. “I trust Bill Barr as much as anybody I’ve ever met, and the law, and he’s going to do the right thing by the country.
“Now my job is to make sure Crossfire Hurricane never occurs again,” he said, in reference to the Obama-era counterintelligence probe into the 2016 Trump campaign, alleging ‘collusion’ with Russia, which did not occur.
“I think it reeked with political bias. The thousand people who want Barr to resign are doing a political hitjob on him,” Graham continued.
“The four frontline Mueller prosecutors were asking for a seven-to-nine-year sentence that was totally unjustified. There was no threat to a witness that would justify increasing the three-and-a-half to four-and-a-half [years] to the recommendations guidelines,” he added.
“So the four prosecutors were overzealous, and Bill Barr rightly corrected that,” he said.
Later in the interview, Graham, a retired military lawyer, returned to his theme that political bias was behind the call for Barr’s resignation.
“To the people that want Barr to resign: We know your agenda,” Graham said. “You’re not trying to uphold the rule of law. You’re trying to take a good man down because you hate Trump.”