Trump Claims He Has ‘Legal Right’ To Meddle In Criminal Cases Amid Roger Stone Fiasco

President Donald Trump makes a statement with Attorney General William Barr in the Rose Garden of the White House on July 11, 2019. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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February 14, 2020 9:16 a.m.

President Donald Trump asserted that he has the power to interfere in criminal cases on Friday morning amid the fallout over the Justice Department watering down federal prosecutors’ recommended prison sentence for ex-Trump adviser Roger Stone.

Trump quoted in a tweet Attorney General Bill Barr’s claim that the President “has never” asked him to “do anything in a criminal case.”

“This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!” Trump wrote.

Barr and the DOJ came under fire this week for walking back prosecutors’ recommended sentence of seven to nine years in Stone’s criminal case after Trump complained via Twitter about the “horrible and very unfair” recommendation. Four prosecutors who had sought the sentence resigned from Stone’s case, and one of them left the department altogether.

On Thursday, Barr said that while Trump’s tweets make it “impossible for me to do my job,” it would be “preposterous” to suggest that Trump was behind the DOJ’s reversal.

Additionally, Trump’s claim that he has “so far chosen not to” get involved in a criminal case is a lie: He asked then-FBI Director James Comey to drop the criminal investigation into Michael Flynn in 2017, according to Comey’s memos on their meeting and his sworn testimony to Congress.

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