Less than a week after Attorney General William Barr said that President Donald Trump’s tweets about judges presiding over Department of Justice cases make it “impossible” for him to do his job, Trump tweeted about the judge handling Roger Stone’s case. Although he was quoting Fox News’s Andrew Napolitano, the message was clear: Judge Amy Berman Jackson needs to grant Stone a new trial.
Trump said through Napolitano what he really believes: that his longtime friend and advisor Roger Stone, convicted of witness tampering, obstruction and making false statements, should get a new trial because the jury foreperson, Tomeka Hart, revealed herself to be anti-Trump.
In short, the above is clearly a public statement “about judges before whom we have cases.” No they were not Trump’s words, but he did tweet them. Here’s what AG Barr said about such tweets:
And I’m happy to say that, in fact the president has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case. However, to have public statements and tweets made about the department, about our people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending in the department, and about judges before whom we have cases, make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the department that we’re doing our work with integrity.
The tweets were sent on the same morning Judge Jackson is scheduled to have a conference call with both parties in the Stone case. Keep an eye on this. They were also sent the same day that the Federal Judges Association scheduled an “emergency” conference call to discuss how to deal with encroachments on the independence of the judiciary.
In a rare statement, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia also saw fit to respond last week.
“The Judges of this Court base their sentencing decisions on careful consideration of the actual record in the case before them; the applicable sentencing guidelines and statutory factors; the submissions of the parties, the Probation Office and victims; and their own judgment and experience,” Judge Beryl A. Howell said after the president went after Judge Jackson on Twitter.
[Image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]
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