Connect with us

Politics

Prosecutors wary of Trump-related cases as he may unleash DOJ: NYT

Published

on

  • Federal prosecutors told The New York Times are increasingly wary about pursuing cases relating to President Donald Trump.
  • They said the intervention from top Justice Department officials to reduce the recommended sentence for former Trump advisor Roger Stone earlier this week had increased their concern.
  • On Monday, the entire team of federal attorneys who led Stone’s prosecution resigned in protest at the intervention. 
  • Democrats claim that Trump is seeking to seize control of the Department of Justice to pursue political grudges, while former prosecutors cite “a devastating breakdown” in the checks and balances on Trump’s power.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Federal prosecutors have told The New York Times that they increasingly wary of pursuing new criminal cases relating to President Donald Trump or his allies. 

More than a dozen officials currently working in some of the 93 US Attorney’s Offices around the country, who were unnamed, told the newspaper they had already been hesitant about prosecuting new cases that might “attract the president’s attention.”

But events this week — in which senior Justice Department (DOJ) officials  interfered to reduce the minimum recommended sentence for former Trump adviser Roger Stone — had increased their concern, The Times said.

They said they did not believe that Attorney General William Barr, a staunch Trump ally, would defend their independence in politically-charged cases. 

roger stone

Longtime Trump associate Roger Stone arrives to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, on Capitol Hill in September 2017.

Associated Press/J. Scott Applewhite


Stone was convicted last November of lying to Congress, making false statements to investigators, and witness tampering in relation to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Federal investigators recommended a seven-to-nine-year sentence for him on Monday.

The DOJ’s decision to overrule them, and reduce Stone’s sentencing recommendation, prompted the resignation of the entire team of prosecutors who had secured Stone’s conviction.

On Wednesday, Trump launched a series of attacks against the prosecutors, and congratulated Barr for “taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought.”

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Attorney General William Barr announces the findings of the criminal investigation into the Dec. 6, 2019, shootings at the Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, U.S., January 13, 2020.  REUTERS/Tom Brenner

Barr at a Justice Department news conference.

Reuters


Since his impeachment acquittal last week, Trump has resurrected old grievances — questioning why officials he accused of mishandling the Russia probe have faced no consequences, and fiercely defending old allies who were prosecuted as part of the investigation. 

“You look at what happened, how many people were hurt, their lives were destroyed, and nothing happened with all the people that did it and launched this scam,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday. Trump has repeatedly called the investigation a “witch hunt.”

Barr’s interference in the Stone case has prompted an outcry by former DOJ officials as well as prominent Democrats.

Former prosecutors have told Business Insider’s Sonam Sheth of their shock, with one calling the intervention “a devastating breakdown” in the checks and balances on Trump’s power.

“It seems to me to be a classic hallmark of a dictatorial [or] fascist government,” another said.

On Wednesday, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren warned America faces a slide into authoritarianism if Trump is allowed to use the DOJ to deter the prosecution of his allies and pursue political grudges. 

On Wednesday, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer also called on the Senate Justice Committee to launch a formal probe into Barr’s intervention in the Stone case. 

“The American people must have confidence that justice in this country is dispensed impartially,” Schumer wrote in a Wednesday letter.

“That confidence cannot be sustained if the president or his political appointees are permitted to interfere in prosecution and sentencing recommendations in order to protect their friends and associates.”

Read more: 

Trump attacked the judge presiding over Roger Stone’s trial, and praised AG Barr after the entire DOJ prosecution team resigned in protest at his meddling

Hillary Clinton compares Trump to ‘failed-state fascists’ after he lashed out at a federal judge on Twitter over Roger Stone’s case

‘Can’t recall a worse day for DOJ’: Trump’s acquittal fuels his ‘dictatorial’ instincts as he obliterates the Justice Department’s last shred of independence

‘There need to be mass protests’: Authoritarianism experts say time is running out for Americans to stop Trump

Continue Reading
Advertisement Find your dream job

Trending