Harris Barr testify Roger Stone sentencing (Reports).
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is demanding that Attorney General William Barr testify publicly over the Justice Department’s decision to reduce the recommended sentence for Trump associate Roger Stone.
Harris is asking Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to call Barr before the panel, of which she is a member.
“I request that you immediately schedule a hearing for Attorney General William Barr to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee so that the committee and the American people can understand the Justice Department’s decision to overrule its career prosecutors in this case,” Harris wrote in a letter to Graham.
The Justice Department on Tuesday asked a federal court to sentence Stone to “far less” than seven to nine years in prison — the time frame federal prosecutors had recommended on Monday.
“While it remains the position of the United States that a sentence of incarceration is warranted here, the government respectfully submits that the range of 87 to 108 months presented as the applicable advisory Guidelines range would not be appropriate or serve the interests of justice in this case,” the department said.
The U-turn has sparked mass outrage among Democrats and led to all four of the Justice Department lawyers central to Stone’s prosecution and initial sentencing recommendation to withdraw from the case.
“The Justice Department’s decision to overrule its career prosecutors, immediately after President Trump’s tweet, calls into question the independence and integrity of our legal system,” Harris added in the letter.
Harris is the second member of the Senate Judiciary Committee to request the committee investigate the Justice Department’s decision to ask for a lesser sentence.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) also sent a letter to Graham on Tuesday requesting an investigation, saying the Justice Department’s decision “smacks of dangerous political interference in law enforcement decision-making.”
Trump had publicly criticized the initial seven- to nine-year sentencing recommendation, calling it “very unfair.”
“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!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.
Trump said on Tuesday that he did not instruct the Justice Department to change its sentence but that he could have and that he thought the initial recommendation was “ridiculous.”
“I’d be able to do it if I wanted. I have the absolute right to do it. I stay out of things,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.