President Donald Trump was on a tear Tuesday, slamming four federal prosecutors who recommended a “ridiculous” 9-year prison term for longtime confidante Roger Stone, and directing his ire at the district judge overseeing the case.
But Trump was just getting started, as Fox News reported that he also rescinded the nomination of Jessie Liu for a job as an undersecretary at the Treasury Department — as U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., Liu supervised the prosecution of Stone and former national security adviser Mike Flynn for making false statements to the FBI.
After Trump announced in December his intention to nominate Liu, she would step down from the U.S. attorney’s office the following month.
Liu had been considered by Trump for associate attorney general, the third-highest office in the Justice Department, but she withdrew her name from consideration last March, according to Fox News.
Citing anonymous sources, the Washington Post reported that Trump made the call to withdraw Liu’s nomination because he was worried that she would be asked about the Stone case during her confirmation hearing, which was set for Thursday.
Stone was found guilty in November on seven counts, including five counts of lying to Congress, one count of witness tampering and of obstruction of a proceeding and the prosecutors recommended up to nine years for the 67-year-old Stone and asked that he be remanded pending sentencing.
Top brass at the DOJ were reportedly “shocked” over the harsh recommendation and intervened to suggest a lighter penalty — this prompted the four prosecutors involved to withdrew from Stone’s case on Tuesday.
Trump not only called the 9-year recommendation “a miscarriage of justice,” he said it was “ridiculous,” noting that Stone’s conviction was all part of the “Mueller Scam” that should never have happened.
Early Wednesday, the president also expressed appreciation to Attorney General Bill Barr for his decision to get involved in the case.
“Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought. Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted. Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!” Trump tweeted.
Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought. Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted. Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2020
The judge overseeing the Stone case, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, also oversaw the case against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Taking to Twitter late Tuesday, Trump questioned her controversial history.
Jackson sentenced Manafort to over three and a half years in prison on conspiracy charges, coming on top of a nearly four-year sentence Manafort received as part of a separate case in Virginia.
She also dismissed 70-year-old Manafort’s claim at sentencing that he had been held in solitary confinement “for the past nine months,” suggesting he had a private room in jail.
“I’m not going to split hairs over whether the word solitary was accurate because he had a room of his own,” she said, noting that prison is “hard on everyone, young and old, rich or poor.”
Naturally, Democrats are up in arms over Barr getting involved in a matter that falls under his purview as attorney general.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., summoned the necessary outrage to call for the Justice Department inspector general to launch an investigation into the decision to reduce Stone’s recommended prison sentence.
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