This week has been a strange one for the Department of Justice, and it appears to be getting even wilder.
Over the course of the last few days, President Trump has taken to Twitter to lambast the sentencing guidelines for his pal Roger Stone. The political provocateur has been convicted of lying to Congress during the Robert Mueller-led RussiaGate investigation, and was facing up to nine years in prison before President Trump expressed his displeasure via tweet. This sent the Department of Justice scrambling to appease the Commander in Chief, who himself could simply pardon Stone in the coming weeks.
The nation’ “top cop”, Attorney General Bill Barr, then told an ABC news team that he would prefer the President to address such matters with him privately, as it interferes with the way that the DOJ is operating.
President Trump not only ignored Barr’s request, but then made one heck of a proclamation.
On Tuesday, Trump granted clemency to a clutch of political allies, circumventing the usual Justice Department process. The pardons and commutations followed Trump’s moves to punish witnesses in his impeachment trial, publicly intervene in a pending legal case to urge leniency for a friend, criticize a federal judge, accuse a juror of bias and threaten to sue his own government for investigating him.
Trump defended his actions, saying he has the right to shape the country’s legal systems as he sees fit.
“I’m allowed to be totally involved,” he told reporters as he left Washington on Tuesday for a trip to California, Nevada and Arizona. “I’m actually, I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country. But I’ve chosen not to be involved.”
That statement is sure to spur a fevered response from Democrats who’ve already been sounding the alarms on Trump’s supposed thirst for unkempt power.
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