Dems launch Justice Department probe, seek Stone interviews

01 Mars, 2020, 02:58 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • US Democrats Want to Interview Prosecutors Who Resigned from the Stone Case | USA news

"Although you serve at the President's pleasure, you are also charged with the impartial administration of our laws", Nadler wrote to Barr.

In the same week, Trump abruptly withdrew the nomination of Jessie Liu, the former US attorney for the District of Columbia, who oversaw the Stone case, for a new top post at the Treasury Department overseeing economic sanctions.

Stone's sentencing is one of four matters of concern that Nadler lists in his letter. Nadler's request for access to the career line prosecutors is an unusual step meant to circumvent the Justice Department's political leadership - and one that has been viewed with caution even by Trump critics. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) accused House Democrats of playing political games.

The sharpened look at Barr's activities comes as many Democrats have been wary of prolonging the Ukraine inquiry that led to Trump's impeachment. Their testimony helped form the basis of the House's charge that Trump abused his power to pressure Ukraine to aid his reelection by investigating Democrats.

"The Judiciary Committee needs to examine a range of recent actions that smack of political interference, including the Department's withdrawal of the Roger Stone sentencing recommendation; intervening in the handling of the Michael Flynn prosecution; overruling the decision to relocate Paul Manafort to Rikers Island; opening investigations into career officials involved in the Russian Federation investigation; and a series of controversial interventions into sensitive antitrust matters", Chairman Nadler said in a statement about the request.

Nadler also is questioning Barr about his involvement in other cases related to friends and associates of Trump and about internal investigations into department employees who investigated Trump after the 2016 election.

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The requests are the first major return to politically charged oversight matters by the House Judiciary Committee since it helped impeach Mr. Trump late a year ago. "The only political interference our committee should be examining is the FBI's unlawful surveillance of Carter Page and the Trump campaign".

Just after the Senate voted to acquit Trump, Barr faced blowback over his decision to overrule the prosecutors in the Stone case.

The prosecutors requested included Mr. Durham; four career prosecutors who resigned from the Stone case amid the sentencing dispute with politically appointed superiors; and Timothy Shea, the acting USA attorney who oversaw them. One of those four, Jonathan Kravis, quit the department entirely.

Despite Barr's pleas, Trump has nevertheless continued tweeting and has attacked the judge, jurors and prosecutors involved in the Stone case.

Barr has defended his handling of Stone's sentencing recommendation, but did push back against the president over his frequent public statements about ongoing Justice Department cases. Liu left her position recently and had been tapped by Trump to fill a senior Treasury Department role. He is seeking a new trial, saying the jury forewoman's anti-Trump tweets show she was biased against him.

Particularly, the committee requested for the division to temporary lawmakers on every case, hand over any communications with or referencing Mr. Trump or the White House associated to them, and permit greater than a dozen division prosecutors to take a seat for interviews. It was put together by Chairman Nadler and Congressman Adam Schiff.

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