House to investigate Justice Department intervention in Trump allies' cases

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The Judiciary Committee is requesting interviews with career prosecutors after Attorney General William Barr intervened in Roger Stone's sentencing process.

The House of Representatives is looking into allegations of "improper political interference" at the Justice Department, including the possibility that Donald Trump may have used the department for his own political ends.

On Friday, Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler formally requested interviews with people involved in the Roger Stone case as well as several other cases relating to Trump's political allies and enemies.

"You yourself have acknowledged the difficulties posed by the President's statements about ongoing Justice Department matters," Nadler (D-NY) wrote to Attorney General William Barr. "Although you serve at the President's pleasure, you are also charged with impartial administration of our laws. In turn, the House Judiciary Committee is charged with holding you to that responsibility."

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Nadler requested Barr allow testimony or interviews from four career prosecutors who withdrew from Stone's case after Barr intervened to reduce Stone's earlier recommended sentence.

Earlier this month, federal prosecutors asked a judge to sentence Stone, who was convicted in November of witness tampering and lying to Congress in relation to the Russia investigation, to 7-9 years in prison.

At the time, Trump suggested this long sentence might be "prosecutorial misconduct" and, soon after, Justice officials proposed a more lenient sentence. The reversal prompted all four prosecutors on the case to resign in protest.

Nadler this week also sought documents and the opportunity to question prosecutors about the Justice Department's handling of other issues, including cases against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, and the merger between AT&T and Time Warner.

Nadler told Barr to respond to his requests by March 13.

The Justice Department declined to comment on whether it plans to comply.

Barr claimed earlier this month in an ABC News interview that Trump "has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case." 

But Trump has often made public demands on what the Justice Department should do, eventually leading the department to change course. In recent weeks, he has repeatedly complained publicly about the Stone case, calling it a "miscarriage of justice" and suggested he might try to pardon his longtime ally.

Trump recently asserted an "absolute right" to tell federal prosecutors what to do, but claimed that he has never actually done so.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.