In an unusual break with the president, US Attorney General Bill Barr told ABC News that Trump "has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case” but should stop tweeting about the Justice Department because his tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job.”
Barr's comments come after the president demoaned the lengthy sentence demanded by prosecutors in the Roger Stone case, only to see the sentencing demands cut and the entire prosecution resign - offering a not-so-good optical for Barr.
“I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases,” Barr told ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas.
Thomas then asked Barr if we was worried about the potential blowback from criticizing the president. Barr replied curtly "Of Course.":
“I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody ... whether it’s Congress, a newspaper editorial board, or the president,” Barr said.
“I’m gonna do what I think is right. And you know … I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”
We do note, however, that during the interview, Barr fiercely defended his actions and said it had nothing to do with the president.
“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.— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) February 13, 2020
"I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.” https://t.co/gD4yPkrxxf pic.twitter.com/PznUGkiVUF
Barr added that it was “preposterous” to suggest that he “intervened” in the case as much as he acted to resolve a dispute within the department on a sentencing recommendation.