AG William Barr Will Testify Before House Judiciary Committee About Intervening in Roger Stone's Sentencing

Attorney General William Barr has accepted an invitation to testify before the House Judiciary Committee next month about his alleged intervention in Roger Stone's sentencing, the removal of U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu and Rudy Giuliani feeding the Department of Justice information about President Donald Trump's political rivals.

In a letter sent to Barr on Wednesday, the House committee confirmed the attorney general's "agreement to testify" on March 31, 2020. "Since President Trump took office, we have repeatedly warned you and your predecessors that the misuse of our criminal justice system for political purposes is both dangerous to our democracy and unacceptable to the House Judiciary Committee," the lawmakers wrote. "Our Republican colleagues have warned the Department of the same."

"In your tenure as Attorney General, you have engaged in a pattern of conduct in legal matters relating to the President that raises significant concerns for this Committee," they added.

William Barr
U.S. Attorney General William Barr speaks about the Justice Department's Russia investigation into the 2016 presidential campaign, during the Wall Street Journal's annual CEO Council meeting, at the Four Seasons Hotel on December 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson/Getty

Barr has faced significant criticism from Democrats and Trump critics in the past 24 hours over the Department of Justice's (DOJ) handling of Stone's criminal case. Hours after four prosecutors recommended a seven to nine year sentence for the longtime Trump associate on Monday night, the president railed against the decision, calling it "very horrible and unfair." Following his remarks, the DOJ publicly announced their intention to back away from the lengthy recommendation and instead seek a lower sentence.

It is rare for the DOJ to overturn recommendations made by their own prosecutors, which had already been lodged with the courts. In response, all four career prosecutors involved in Stone's case—Jonathan Kravis, Aaron S.J. Zelinsky, Adam Jed and Michael Marando—requested to withdraw from the proceedings, with one resigning from the department.

Their recommendation follows Stone's conviction on charges including lying to Congress, obstruction of a House probe and witness tampering, which stemmed from the Trump associate's involvement in former special counsel Robert Mueller investigation into whether the president's 2016 campaign coordinated with Russian officials to interfere with the presidential election.

The DOJ's move to go against their own prosecutors prompted Trump critics to accuse Barr and the president's administration of interfering in a criminal case. The DOJ denies the allegation, saying the decision was made before the president issued his tweet.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Trump also denied that he politically interfered in Stone's case, but thanked the department for lessening the sentencing recommendation. "Not at all. He was treated very badly. Nine years recommended by four people that, perhaps they were Mueller people, I don't know who they were, prosecutors," the president said in the Oval Office. "I don't know what happened, they all hit the road pretty quickly."