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Trump declares himself the ‘chief law enforcement officer’ of the US

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  • President Donald Trump falsely designated himself the “chief law enforcement officer of the United States” while speaking to reporters on Tuesday.
  • He also acknowledged that he makes Attorney General William Barr’s job more difficult, referring to Barr’s remark last week that Trump’s tweets make it “impossible” for him to do his job.
  • “I do make his job harder,” Trump told reporters. “I do agree with that.” He added that he has “total confidence” in Barr.
  • The attorney general made waves last week when he criticized Trump’s tweets last week and insisted that he keeps the DOJ free of political influence.
  • His comments raised questions and prompted immediate skepticism, given that Barr has repeatedly capitulated to Trump’s public demands since taking office last year.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump falsely designated himself the “chief law enforcement officer of the United States” while speaking to reporters on Tuesday.

The attorney general, in this case William Barr, is the chief law enforcement officer of the US.

The president also acknowledged that he makes Barr’s job more difficult, referring to Barr’s remark last week that Trump’s tweets make it “impossible” for him to do his job.

“I do make his job harder,” Trump told reporters. “I do agree with that.” He added that he has “total confidence” in the attorney general.

Barr made waves last week when he told ABC News in an exclusive interview that the president’s tweeting put him in a tough spot.

“I’m going to do what I think is right,” Barr said. “And you know … I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”

“I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases,” Barr said, because they “make it impossible for me to do my job.”

Most recently, Barr and senior leadership overrode the sentencing recommendation that career prosecutors handling the federal case against Trump’s associate, Roger Stone, made to a court last week. The announcement came after Trump tweeted that the initial sentencing recommendation was “horrible” and “unfair” to Stone.

The next day, Trump congratulated Barr for deciding to overrule the prosecutors, all of whom withdrew from the case or resigned altogether after senior DOJ leadership rebuked their recommendation.

“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,” the president tweeted.

But Barr told ABC News that he had already decided to ask for a lesser sentence in Stone’s case before Trump blasted out his tweet.

The attorney general also stressed that his main responsibility is making sure the DOJ is free from political interference.

“And I have done that, and I will continue to do that,” Barr said.

Barr’s comments raised questions and prompted immediate skepticism, especially given that he has repeatedly capitulated to the president’s public demands since taking over as attorney general.

In addition to Stone, senior DOJ officials also intervened in the government’s case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn at Barr’s direction. And the attorney general recently appointed an outside prosecutor to review the charges against Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, after his lawyer repeatedly pressured Barr to overturn the case, claiming it was a “miscarriage of justice.”

Barr also announced that the DOJ was setting up an “intake process” to vet the information that Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, collects from Ukraine against former Vice President Joe Biden, one of Trump’s 2020 Democratic rivals.

The announcement was perplexing, given that Giuliani is currently under investigation by the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York for his efforts to get foreign dirt on Biden.

The DOJ said in a letter to Congress that the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York is coordinating “several open matters” related to the Ukraine controversy, and the US attorney in Pittsburgh will vet new information from Ukraine that comes from the public, including Giuliani.

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