Attorney General William Barr has taken control of all legal matters of personal interest to President Donald Trump, serving as a shield to protect Trump from prosecution as his presidency becomes an emboldened criminal enterprise.
On Tuesday, all four line prosecutors withdrew from the case against Trump associate Roger Stone — and one quit the Justice Department altogether — after Barr intervened to reverse a stiff sentencing recommendation of up to nine years in prison that the line prosecutors had filed with the court Monday.
As noted by NBC News, that wasn’t the first time senior political appointees reached into a case involving a former Trump aide. Senior officials at the Justice Department also intervened last month to help change the government’s sentencing recommendation for Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who pled guilty to lying to the FBI.
While once the prosecutors in the case had recommended up to six months in jail for Flynn, their latest filing now says they believe probation would be appropriate.
The resignations and the unusual moves by Barr come as Trump has sought revenge against government officials who testified after being subpoenaed by congressional Democrats in their impeachment investigation.
The day after the Senate acquitted him, Trump fired his ambassador to the European Union, a political supporter the president nominated, and had Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman escorted out of the White House.
“This signals to me that there has been a political infestation,” Chuck Rosenberg, a former U.S. attorney, said on MSNBC. “And that is the single most dangerous thing that you can do to the Department of Justice.”
David Laufman, the Justice Department’s former counterintelligence chief, fired off a tweet calling Barr’s move “a shocking, cram-down political intervention in the criminal justice process. We are now truly at a break-glass-in-case-of-fire moment for the Justice Dept.”