Federal judges call emergency meeting to discuss crisis at the Justice Department

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The Federal Judges Association called the meeting after Attorney General William Barr overruled his own prosecutors' sentencing recommendations in the Roger Stone case.

The Federal Judges Association, an independent group of federal judges, called an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss growing interference by Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr's Department of Justice in political cases.

The meeting comes after career prosecutors in the Roger Stone case were overruled on sentencing recommendations, prompting all four of them to resign in protest.

U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe, a George W. Bush appointee and the head of the group, told USA Today that her organization "could not wait" until its spring gathering to "talk all of this through."

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More than 1,000 federal judges are part of the association.

Stone, Trump's former lobbyist and 2016 campaign adviser, was convicted in November of federal witness tampering and obstruction charges. Prosecutors last week urged a prison sentence of between seven and nine years.

Trump publicly attacked the recommendation as a "horrible and very unfair situation," saying he could not "allow this miscarriage of justice!"

Barr then apparently intervened and his Justice Department announced it would instead recommend a lighter sentence.

The Justice Department later claimed it had made the decision to lower Stone's sentencing recommendation before Trump aired his grievances on Twitter.

Trump praised the about-face in a tweet last Wednesday, congratulating Barr "for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not even have been brought."

Claiming juror bias, Stone asked recently for a new trial.

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted an attack on the judge overseeing the Stone case, quoting a Fox News commentator who questioned her impartiality and urging the initial verdict be set aside.

Barr also came under fire last week after it was reported he had brought in an outside prosecutor to review the case of Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI regarding his communications with Russian officials in 2017. The move was widely viewed as an attempt to undermine Barr's own Justice Department in yet another favor to the president.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.