This is not the first time Warren has called on Barr to resign, either. She made similar calls for him to step down over how he handled the release of Robert Mueller’s report on Russia’s election interference in 2016.
Now, though, Warren is calling on Barr to resign after four federal prosecutors withdrew from a case against Stone when the Justice Department abruptly changed its sentencing request for the Trump ally. After news reports broke that federal prosecutors suggested a seven to nine-year sentence for Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress and witness tampering, Trump sent out a tweet criticizing the sentencing.
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! https://t.co/rHPfYX6Vbv— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 11, 2020
Not long after, the Justice Department withdrew its recommendation and put forward a lighter sentencing guideline. Many interpreted the move as Trump stepping across the sacred boundary between the president and his Justice Department. The four prosecutors on the case withdrew and criticism immediately mounted.
“Congress must act immediately to rein in our lawless Attorney General,” Warren said on Twitter. “Barr should resign or face impeachment. And Congress should use spending power to defund the AG’s authority to interfere with anything that affects Trump, his friends, or his elections.”
A DOJ spokesperson denied that it consulted with the White House and said the decision to change the sentencing guidelines was not made due to President Donald Trump’s tweet but was already under consideration Monday night. Trump later congratulated Barr on Twitter, saying he was “taking charge of a case that was totally out of control” and “should not have even be brought.”
Warren posted a lengthy Twitter thread in her call for Barr to step down, imploring voters that “we are not powerless” to fight back.
Donald Trump is shredding the rule of law in this country. His AG overruled career prosecutors to reduce the sentence for his buddy Roger Stone after Stone committed crimes to protect him. Every Republican who voted to acquit Trump for his corrupt actions enabled and owns this.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 12, 2020
Congress must act immediately to rein in our lawless Attorney General. Barr should resign or face impeachment. And Congress should use spending power to defund the AG’s authority to interfere with anything that affects Trump, his friends, or his elections.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 12, 2020
Abusing official power to protect political friends and attack opponents is common in authoritarian regimes like Putin’s Russia. Trump and Barr’s conduct has no place in our democracy. To end it, Congress must act—and the American people must hold them accountable in November.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 12, 2020
She also tied her calls into her current bid for the Democratic nomination for president.
“I am the only candidate to propose an independent DOJ task force to investigate crimes by Trump administration officials,” she said. “Every Democratic candidate must commit to it—so Trump officials know they will be held accountable by career prosecutors once he is out of office.”
Even some Republicans joined in on the criticism. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told reporters that she “didn’t like this chain of events.”
Sen. Murkowski on the Stone sentencing revision: "I don't like this chain of events … The President weighs in, all of a sudden, Justice comes back and says change the deal. I think most people in America would look at that and say hmm, that just doesn't look right."— Jeremy Herb (@jeremyherb) February 12, 2020
Given the strong support Barr has from the president, it’s unlikely he would step down. But ultimately, the sentencing of Stone will come at the discretion of the judge in the case — Amy Berman Jackson. She’s expected to question the remaining DOJ lawyer about why the sentencing guidelines were changed and she will ultimately decide how long, or if, Stone will go to prison.