Barr shrugs off Trump tweets on Stone case

The US Attorney-General says he's not influenced by Trump's tweets on the Roger Stone case.
The US Attorney-General says he's not influenced by Trump's tweets on the Roger Stone case.

US Attorney General William Barr says he 'won't be bullied by anyone' as President Donald Trump continues to attack prosecutors, the judge and jurors in the trial of a longtime adviser.

In an ABC interview, Barr, the top US law enforcement officer, said Trump's criticism of those involved in the case of Roger Stone "make it impossible for me to do my job."

Barr spoke after his Justice Department abandoned an initial recommendation by prosecutors to give the veteran Republican operative seven to nine years in prison.

All four prosecutors then quit the case.

Trump has weighed in on Twitter all week with comments that have aroused concerns his administration is weakening the rule of law.

"I'm not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody ... whether it's Congress, a newspaper editorial board or the president," Barr said, adding: "I think it's time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases."

The White House said Trump was not bothered by Barr's remarks.

"The President has full faith and confidence in Attorney General Barr to do his job and uphold the law," White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a prepared statement.

Stone was found guilty in November on seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.

The case stems from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation detailing Russian interference in the 2016 election to benefit Trump's candidacy.

The Republican president called their sentencing recommendation for Stone, whose friendship with Trump dates back decades, "horrible" and a "miscarriage of justice."

He tweeted criticism of US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is scheduled to sentence Stone on Feb. 20.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump's comments on the Stone case amounted to interference in the workings of the US government's judicial branch.

"This is an abuse of power - that the president is again trying to manipulate federal law enforcement to serve his political interest," Pelosi, a Democrat, told a news conference. "This is not what America is about. It is so wrong."

Stone's supporters are pushing for a presidential pardon, which Trump has declined to comment on.

Australian Associated Press