“I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases,” Attorney General Bill Barr told ABC News on Thursday. “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody…whether it’s Congress, a newspaper editorial board, or the president.”
Barr continued, “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.”
The attorney general said he could not “assure the courts and the prosecutors and the department that we’re doing our work with integrity” if the executive branch appeared involved in DOJ decision making.
The White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham responded to AG Barr’s comments, saying that Trump “wasn’t bothered” by Barr’s remarks, even as she defended the president’s social media use.
“The president wasn’t bothered by the comments at all and he has the right, just like any American citizen, to publicly offer his opinions,” Grisham said. “President Trump uses social media very effectively to fight for the American people against injustices in our country, including the fake news. The President has full faith and confidence in Attorney General Barr to do his job and uphold the law.”
On Wednesday, President Trump railed against federal prosecutors who had initially recommended a lengthy sentence for Roger Stone, calling it a “disgrace.”
“The fact is that Roger Stone was treated horribly and so were many other people,” Trump said. “Their lives were destroyed.”
He added: “Roger Stone — nobody even knows what he did… Frankly, they ought to apologize to a lot of people whose lives they’ve ruined.”
EXCLUSIVE: “I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases,” Attorney General Bill Barr tells @PierreTABC following Pres. Trump’s tweets on Roger Stone sentencing. https://t.co/3bf9a1Z5v4 pic.twitter.com/yITwRgzutJ
— ABC News (@ABC) February 13, 2020