Today, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it will alter its sentencing recommendations for convicted felon and former Trump campaign advisor Roger Stone after an overnight Tweet by President Trump urging leniency. Stone was convicted by jury of multiple felonies related to obstructing Congress’ investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election – including lying to Congress and witness tampering – in an effort to protect the President and his campaign. Last Thursday DOJ recommended to the court that Stone be sentenced to 7-9 years. Last night, President Trump condemned the recommendation and this morning DOJ announced it was changing course.
Statement of Karen Hobert Flynn, President of Common Cause
“The Attorney General is and has always been the attorney for our nation—the United States—not the President’s attorney. But Attorney General Barr has made clear that, first and foremost, he serves President Donald Trump’s personal and political interests and not the interests of the United States. Barr has failed to faithfully execute the most basic duty of his office. This is not how justice works in the United States. The American people expect and deserve better.
“Presidents and Attorneys General cannot put their thumbs on the scales of justice for any reason – including to aid friends associates – or we cease to be a nation of laws. This latest abuse of power follows on the heels of A.G. Barr’s suppression and mischaracterization of the Mueller Report and more recently of his placing severe restrictions on politically-sensitive investigations launched by U.S. Attorneys nationwide. It is hard to see the Attorney General’s order insisting that every campaign-related investigation, by any U.S. Attorney, be approved by Barr’s office as anything more than a prophylactic attempt to control embarrassing or damning investigations into the Trump campaign from coming to light. This is particularly troubling given that President Trump has already publicly asked foreign government to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election and is directly implicated in 2016 crimes for which Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen has been sentenced to federal prison.
“Common Cause has previously called for the impeachment of William Barr and our position has not changed. His politicization of the Justice Department is a national disgrace. He is abusing the powers of the Justice Department to serve the President. That is not democracy, that is an impeachable offense.”