On Tuesday, NBC News reported that Attorney General William Barr and his top officials have taken a deeper interest in politically charged cases against former associates of President Donald Trump than had previously been reported.
Specifically, while Barr’s Justice Department overruled prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation for former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone, it appears they may have done exactly the same thing a month ago for Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
“On Tuesday, all four line prosecutors withdrew from the case against Trump associate Roger Stone — and one quit the Justice Department altogether — after Barr and his top aides intervened to reverse a stiff sentencing recommendation of up to nine years in prison that the line prosecutors had filed with the court Monday,” reported Carol Lee, Ken Dilanian, and Peter Alexander.
“But that wasn’t the first time senior political appointees reached into a case involving a former Trump aide, officials told NBC News,” they continued. “Senior officials at the Justice Department also intervened last month to help change the government’s sentencing recommendation for Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who pled guilty to lying to the FBI. While once the prosecutors in the case had recommended up to six months in jail for Flynn, their latest filing now says they believe probation would be appropriate.”
“The new filing came on the same day Jessie Liu, was removed from her job, to be replaced the next day by a former prosecutor selected by Barr,” stated the report. “Liu had been overseeing the criminal investigation into McCabe, who was accused by the department’s inspector general of lying to investigators. McCabe has not been charged, despite calls by President Trump for him to go to prison.”
Barr denies any personal involvement in these decisions — but the odd timing and unprecedented nature of these moves by the DOJ have still led critics to argue he is behind them.
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