Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is making a rare move as he is seemingly siding with Attorney General William Barr when it comes to the attorney general’s criticism of President Donald Trump’s tweeting habits.
Barr spoke to ABC News on Thursday where he said, “I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.”
The attorney general’s remarks come after Barr and Trump found themselves swept up in controversy after the Department of Justice (DOJ) submitted a new recommendation after federal prosecutors suggested a seven to nine year sentence for former Trump adviser Roger Stone. This resulted in all four prosecutors quitting the case.
It sparked outrage from several Democrats, as the DOJ’s announcement came shortly after Trump called it “a horrible and very unfair situation” in a tweet.
“Public statements and tweets made about the department … make it impossible for me to do my job, to assure the courts and the prosecutors and the department that we’re doing our work with integrity,” Barr said.
Check out Barr’s comments below:
“I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody….whether it’s Congress, newspaper editorial boards, or the president," Bill Barr tells @ABC News.— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 13, 2020
"I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.” https://t.co/14rnEMD65c pic.twitter.com/QuoTgpUVHp
“The President has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.” A.G. Barr This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2020
Speaking on Fox News Thursday evening, McConnell said regarding Barr’s comments, “The president made a great choice when he picked Bill Barr to be attorney general. I think the president should listen to his advice.”
Asked if he has a problem with Trump’s tweeting, McConnell responded, “Maybe the president should listen to the attorney general.”
Watch McConnell’s interview below:
Additionally, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) expressed his support for Barr.
“Attorney General Barr has my complete confidence,” the South Carolina senator tweeted on Thursday.
He is the right man at the right time to reform the Department and stand up for the Rule of Law.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) February 13, 2020
Attorney General Barr has my complete confidence.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham responded in a statement to Barr’s interview, saying, “The President wasn’t bothered by the comments at all, and he has the right, just like any American citizen, to publicly offer his opinions.”
After the DOJ’s announcement, Trump congratulated Barr “for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought.”
Since then, Democratic lawmakers have suggested Trump “engaged in political interference in the sentencing of Roger Stone.”
However, Barr told ABC News that the consideration of revising the recommendation was already happening before Trump tweeted.
“This is an abuse of power, that the president is trying to manipulate federal law enforcement to serve his political interest,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at Thursday’s press conference.
BREAKING: Speaker Pelosi says Trump’s interference with DoJ, AG Barr’s interference in the Roger Stone case and the firing of Lt Col Vindman “must all be investigated.” pic.twitter.com/iymsnlV70K— Scott Dworkin (@funder) February 13, 2020
Additionally, Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) told CNN on Thursday that she “would not be surprised” if Barr and Trump were “in cahoots.”
.@RepValDemings says she wouldn't be surprised if Attorney General William Barr and the President were "in cahoots" regarding Barr's comments about Trump's tweets.https://t.co/jZ6NkoORWt pic.twitter.com/nWZHud9po3— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) February 14, 2020
Barr will be testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on March 31, as IJR previously reported.