In the past, William Barr did not necessarily stand out with a clear stance or even contradictions against the White House. On the contrary: handpicked by Donald Trump, he was usually found reliably on the President’s line. Now, however, the US Attorney General is listening with unusually clear statements.
Barr has asked President Trump to stop interfering in ongoing proceedings via Twitter. The constant comments from the site made it “impossible to do my job,” Barr told ABC News Thursday.
However, the president never directly asked him to intervene in criminal proceedings, he said. He would not be intimidated – neither by Congress, nor by newspapers or the president – said Barr. Instead, he would work for the integrity and independence of the judiciary.
“I think it’s time to stop tweeting about Justice Department criminal cases,” Barr said towards Trump. He was “naturally” aware that the President might dislike this statement, he added. The White House only said that the president had “full trust in Barr”.
The minister’s statements were apparently triggered by the case of longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, who had caused outrage this week. Stone has to answer to court for his role in the so-called Russia affair.
The accusation’s resignation causes considerable sensation
The prosecutors recommended a seven to nine-year prison sentence to the federal court in Washington on Monday given the seriousness of Stone’s offenses. President Trump then vehemently criticized the recommendation on Twitter. A few hours later, the Ministry of Justice – which is superior to the public prosecutor’s office – recommended a significantly milder sentence. The four prosecutors resolved to resign as a result of the highly unusual interference – which was considered politically motivated.
Stone had been found guilty by a jury on several charges in November. In connection with contacts with the disclosure platform Wikileaks, he is charged with false statements, hindrance to investigations and influencing witnesses. The background to this is the investigation by special investigator Robert Mueller into whether the Trump camp had colluded with Russia in the 2016 presidential election campaign.