It’s been a strange, even surreal day at the Department of Justice, and Attorney General William Barr has made it clear that he’s completely out of control.
On Monday, the DOJ filed a sentencing memo requesting that former Trump confidante Roger Stone be put in prison for seven to nine years for lying to Congress and tampering with a witness. The memo reads in part:
“Roger Stone obstructed Congress’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, lied under oath, and tampered with a witness. And when his crimes were revealed by the indictment in this case, he displayed contempt for this Court and the rule of law.”
That sent President Donald Trump into an enraged tweetstorm Tuesday morning, as he fired off a posting saying how unfair putting Stone in prison for nearly a decade would be:
This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice! https://t.co/rHPfYX6Vbv
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 11, 2020
A few hours later, the Justice Department reversed itself, saying it would not seek such a long sentence for Stone:
“A senior Justice Department official said the department ‘was shocked to see the sentencing recommendation in the Roger Stone case last night.’
“’That recommendation is not what had been briefed to the department,’ the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive case. ‘The department finds the recommendation extreme and excessive and disproportionate to Stone’s offenses. The department will clarify its position later today.'”
Shortly thereafter, all four prosecutors on the Stone case abruptly resigned.
So what exactly is going on? Well, it appears that AG Barr is acting at the behest of Trump, which is something he isn’t supposed to do, since the DOJ is supposed to be an independent agency, not subservient to the president. But Barr seems to think that his primary job is to protect Trump and his cronies, no matter what laws they break.
Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr.(D-NJ) said Barr’s actions constituted “obstruction of justice,” adding:
“We are seeing a full-frontal assault on the rule of law in America. Direct political interference in our justice system is a hallmark of a banana republic. Despite whatever Trump, William Barr, and their helpers think, the United States is a nation of laws and not an authoritarian’s paradise.”
William Barr is a clear and present danger to the United States and the rule of law. He needs to be impeached, even if the Senate refuses to remove him from his post. The nation needs to hear exactly what Barr is doing to shred the Constitution.