It is extremely rare for Justice Department leaders to reverse the decision of its own prosecutors on a sentencing recommendation, particularly after that recommendation has been submitted to the court. One left the department altogether.
The decision to overrule your career prosecutors and significantly reduce the recommended sentence for Roger Stone, who has been convicted for lying under oath, at the apparent request of the president-a decision that led to all four prosecutors handling the case to withdraw from the proceedings in protest.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Wednesday that he had spoken to the Justice Department and was told that their sentencing guidelines call for three and a half or four and a half years, instead of the seven to nine years the prosecutors had recommended. Stone was investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the Trump-Russia investigation and convicted in federal court of lying to Congress and witness tampering.
"The American people must have confidence in our nation's system of impartial justice", she said, urging Senate Republicans to take action.
Critics have said Trump's comments on the case erode the independence of the US judiciary.
Donald Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn Getty Images
But, historically, and for very good reason, both the Department of Justice and the White House have had strict policies that bar in most circumstances communications between the White House and the Department of Justice about individual decisions in individual cases.
"He's the chief law enforcement officer. The House Judiciary Committee, which has oversight of Barr, must also investigate independently".
Napolitano continued to say that the foreperson's posts were "obviously" not considered during the jury selection process, and while he acknowledged her right to her opinion, "she can't be a jury in a trial rife with the politics of Donald Trump and Roger Stone".
Democrats also said they were concerned about the withdrawal of the nomination of U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu to a Treasury Department position. Stone also briefed the Trump campaign about whatever he had learned about WikiLeaks' plans.
Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA) told CNN anchor Jake Tapper on Wednesday that while Democrats in the House of Representatives do not "wake up in the morning wanting to impeach" President Trump, no options are off the table in response to Roger Stone's new sentencing. But Trump's criticism comes as Stone's sentencing is pending and the president is being lobbied to pardon his friend.