Website URL:
   Homepage

Accessibility links

     * Skip to content
     * Accessibility Help

   BBC Account
   Notifications
   
     * Home
     * News
     * Sport
     * Weather
     * iPlayer
     * Sounds
     * CBBC
     * CBeebies
     * Food
     * Bitesize
     * Arts
     * Taster
     * Local
     * TV
     * Radio
     * Three
     * Menu

   Search
   News 

BBC News Navigation

   
   Sections
   
     * Home 
     * Video 
     * World 
     * US & Canada  selected
     * UK 
     * Business 
     * Tech 
     * Science 
     * Stories 
     * Entertainment & Arts 
     * Health 
     * In Pictures 
     * Reality Check 
     * World News TV 
     * Newsbeat 
     * Special Reports 
     * Explainers 
     * The Reporters 
     * Have Your Say 

   US & Canada selected
   US & Canada
   US & Canada

Trump says he has right to act on criminal cases

     * 14 February 2020

     * Share this with Facebook 
     * Share this with Messenger 
     * Share this with Twitter 
     * Share this with Email 
     * Share this with Facebook 
     * Share this with WhatsApp 
     * Share this with Messenger 
     * Share this with Twitter 
     * Share 
       Share this with
       These are external links and will open in a new window
          + Email
            Share this with Email 
          + Facebook
            Share this with Facebook 
          + Messenger
            Share this with Messenger 
          + Messenger
            Share this with Messenger 
          + Twitter
            Share this with Twitter 
          + Pinterest
            Share this with Pinterest 
          + WhatsApp
            Share this with WhatsApp 
          + LinkedIn
            Share this with LinkedIn 
       Copy this link
       https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51506976
       Read more about sharing.
       These are external links and will open in a new window
       (BUTTON) Close share panel

   Donald Trump and William Barr give a press conference in December Image copyright AFP Image caption William Barr, right, has been seen as an ally of Donald Trump

   US President Donald Trump has tweeted he has "the legal right" to intervene in criminal cases after his attorney general complained White House tweets were making his job "impossible".

   In his post, Mr Trump also denied he had ever meddled in any cases.

   America's top law officer William Barr on Thursday asked Mr Trump to stop his tweets, saying he would not be bullied.

   Mr Barr spoke out after Mr Trump renewed his attack on the criminal trial of his ex-adviser, Roger Stone.

   Prosecutors had recommended Stone serve a stiff sentence, but Mr Trump tweeted that was unfair.

   On Friday morning, Mr Trump ignored the attorney general's plea to stop tweeting.
   Skip Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump

     “The President has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.” A.G. Barr This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!
     — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2020

   Report

   End of Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump

   It is legally ambiguous whether the US president has the authority to order the attorney general to open or shut a case.

   The Department of Justice has been meant to operate without political interference since the Watergate scandal of the 1970s.

   Mr Trump has previously called for investigations into perceived enemies, such as former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

   On Friday, Mr McCabe's lawyers announced the justice department had closed its criminal inquiry into whether their client had lied to investigators about leaks to the media.

   The New York Times meanwhile reported Mr Barr had appointed outside prosecutors to review the case against another Trump ally, Michael Flynn.

   Flynn, who was Mr Trump's first national security adviser, previously pleaded guilty to lying to investigators in a federal inquiry, but later withdrew co-operation and is in the midst of trying to recant his plea.

   Mr Barr said on Thursday that Mr Trump "undercuts" him by tweeting, making it "impossible for me to do my job".

   "I think it's time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases," Mr Barr told ABC News.

   "I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me," he added.
   Skip Twitter post by @ABCPolitics

     “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody….whether it’s Congress, newspaper editorial boards, or the president," Bill Barr tells @ABC News.
     "I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.” https://t.co/GxoKFX1GR4 pic.twitter.com/nOebfmtly0
     — ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 13, 2020

   Report

   End of Twitter post by @ABCPolitics

   The rare show of dissent from a cabinet member widely seen as a Trump loyalist has provoked a degree of scepticism in the US media.

   Critics suggested the statement could have been co-ordinated with the White House to shore up the Department of Justice's credibility as an independent agency.

   The attorney general has been an outspoken defender of the president to the extent that Democrats and former justice department officials have accused him of politicising the rule of law.

   After the interview on Thursday evening, the White House said Mr Trump "wasn't bothered by the comments at all and he has the right, just like any American citizen, to publicly offer his opinions".

   Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who rarely speaks up against Mr Trump, said the president should listen to Mr Barr's advice.
     * Prosecutors quit Trump ally case over sentence dispute
     * Roger Stone: Trump ally and Russia probe defendant

   There was widespread anger this week when the Department of Justice said it planned to reduce the length of the prison sentence it would seek for Stone, a long-time friend of the president.

   Stone was convicted in November of obstructing an investigation by the House Intelligence Committee into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

   Federal prosecutors had initially recommended Stone face seven to nine years in jail for trying to thwart the investigation.
   Image copyright EPA Image caption According to a Netflix documentary about his political career, Roger Stone convinced Donald Trump to run for president

   The president swiftly voiced his opposition, tweeting: "This is a horrible and very unfair situation."

   The justice department then overruled the recommendation by its own prosecution team, prompting questions over whether Mr Barr had intervened on behalf of Mr Trump's ally. The four prosecutors subsequently quit.

   President Trump praised Mr Barr for "taking charge" of the Roger Stone case.

   He also dropped his nomination of former US Attorney Jessie Liu, who oversaw the Stone case, for another government post in the Treasury Department.

   On Thursday, Mr Trump said the federal jury that heard the case against Stone had "significant bias".

   The forewoman of the jurors reportedly identified herself in a Facebook post. Her social media posts revealed hostility to Mr Trump, it was also reported.

   Stone is scheduled to be sentenced next week.

Related Topics

     * Donald Trump
     * William Barr
     * US politics

Share this story About sharing

     * Email 
     * Facebook 
     * Messenger 
     * Messenger 
     * Twitter 
     * Pinterest 
     * WhatsApp 
     * LinkedIn 

More on this story

     * Roger Stone: Trump ally, political strategist, Nixon fan and Russia probe defendant
       20 February 2020
       
     * Roger Stone: Prosecutors quit Trump ally case over sentence dispute
       12 February 2020
       
     * Video Trump says what people think, says strategist Roger Stone
       6 February 2018
       
     * Video Attorney General Barr defends his Mueller report summary
       1 May 2019
       

Top Stories

   Venice Carnival closes amid coronavirus outbreak

   Italy quarantines whole towns, closes schools and cancels sports fixtures as infections increase.
   23 February 2020
    Medical masks at Philippines mass wedding
   23 February 2020
    Nevada caucuses: Who won and who lost?
   23 February 2020
   

Features

   

Dead within three hours of arrival at a Russian prison

   
   

Dubs or subs? Parasite renews the debate

   
   

Nevada - winners and losers

   
   
   Video

Hip-hop's iconic photos go on display

   
   

Wallis Simpson's hard lessons for Harry and Meghan

   
   

The potential diplomatic impact of coronavirus

   
   

What will Trump's visit do for US-India ties?

   
   
   Video

Simone Biles on abuse, race and life after gymnastics

   
   

Could the Big Bang have created a hidden 'twin' Universe?

   

Elsewhere on the BBC

   

Football phrases

   

   15 sayings from around the world
   Full article Football phrases
   Why you can trust BBC News

BBC News Navigation

   US & Canada
     * Home 
     * Video 
     * World 
          + World Home
          + Africa
          + Asia
          + Australia
          + Europe
          + Latin America
          + Middle East
     * US & Canada  selected
          + US & Canada Home
     * UK 
          + UK Home
          + England
          + N. Ireland
          + Scotland
          + Wales
          + Politics
     * Business 
          + Business Home
          + Market Data
          + Global Trade
          + Companies
          + Entrepreneurship
          + Technology of Business
          + Connected World
          + Global Education
          + Economy
     * Tech 
     * Science 
     * Stories 
     * Entertainment & Arts 
     * Health 
     * In Pictures 
     * Reality Check 
     * World News TV 
     * Newsbeat 
     * Special Reports 
     * Explainers 
     * The Reporters 
     * Have Your Say 

BBC News Services

     * On your mobile
     * On smart speakers
     * Get news alerts
     * Contact BBC News

Explore the BBC

     * Home
     * News
     * Sport
     * Weather
     * iPlayer
     * Sounds
     * CBBC
     * CBeebies
     * Food
     * Bitesize
     * Arts
     * Taster
     * Local
     * TV
     * Radio
     * Three

     * Terms of Use
     * About the BBC
     * Privacy Policy
     * Cookies
     * Accessibility Help
     * Parental Guidance
     * Contact the BBC
     * Get Personalised Newsletters

   Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read about our approach to external linking.