Bill Barr's Criticisms of Trump's Tweeting Will End President's Post-Impeachment Triumph, Says Pulitzer Prize-Winning Reporter

Reporter Maggie Haberman said Thursday on CNN that Attorney General Bill Barr's complaints about President Donald Trump's tweets about ongoing litigation may not be what Trump "wants to hear,"

"I think it's time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases," Barr told ABC News Thursday in reference to Trump's tweets about the jail sentence recommended for his former adviser, Roger Stone.

"I'm not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody, whether it's Congress, a newspaper editorial board or the president. I'm going to do what I think is right," Barr said. "I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me."

Federal prosecutors originally wanted to give Stone, who was convicted of charges related to the investigation of Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election in November 2019, a sentence with a maximum of nine years. After Trump tweeted about the suggested sentence, calling it "horrible and very unfair," the DOJ overruled the sentencing recommendation in Stone's case.

"I really can't see [Trump] hearing Bill Barr criticizing how he uses Twitter, which he considers so important to how he communicates and his form of independence in this job," Haberman said. "I can't see him hearing this and saying, 'Yes, I get it. That's cool.'"

"[Trump] is in this kind of phase of feeling unfettered after impeachment," Haberman added. "This is not what he wants to hear."

maggie haberman
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Maggie Haberman said Thursday that Attorney General Bill Barr's criticism of President Donald Trump's tweets were "not what he wants to hear." Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis/Getty

Haberman, a White House correspondent for The New York Times, won a 2018 Pulitzer Prize for her part in reporting on the ties between Trump's advisers and Russia.

"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," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement sent to Newsweek Thursday. "President Trump uses social media very effectively to fight for the American people against injustices in our country, including the fake news. The President has full faith and confidence in Attorney General Barr to do his job and uphold the law."

Barr said in his interview that he had made up his mind to reduce Stone's sentence before the president tweeted about it.

"I think the essential role of the attorney general is to keep law enforcement, the criminal process sacrosanct to make sure there is no political interference in it," Barr said. "And I have done that and I will continue to do that. And I'm happy to say that in fact the president has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case."

While Barr denies doing favors for the president, others say that a professional line has been crossed.

Former U.S. Attorney Patrick Cotter said Thursday on MSNBC, "I will tell you the attorney general is appointed to administer the law fairly and impartially, and that's the line that I see has been rolled over like a tank by the president who has clearly, clearly applied enormous pressure to the DOJ in favor of a personal friend of his. That is simply unacceptable."

Bill Barr's Criticisms of Trump's Tweeting Will End President's Post-Impeachment Triumph, Says Pulitzer Prize-Winning Reporter | Politics