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Career Prosecutors Quit Roger Stone Case After DOJ Intervenes

Former advisor to President Donald Trump, Roger Stone leaves the courthouse with his wife Nydia after being found guilty of obstructing a congressional investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Stone faced seven felony charges and was found guilty on all of them.
Former advisor to President Donald Trump, Roger Stone leaves the courthouse with his wife Nydia after being found guilty of obstructing a congressional investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Stone faced seven felony charges and was found guilty on all of them.

On Tuesday, senior Justice Department officials reduced a recommended sentence in the case of Roger Stone, which abruptly caused four career prosecutors working on the case to withdraw from it.

Stone was convicted of “sabotag[ing] a congressional investigation that threatened his longtime friend President Trump.”

After that news broke, NBC reported this case “wasn’t the first time senior political appointees reached into a case involving an ex-Trump aide,” citing multiple people familiar with the matter.

The more lenient recommendation comes after the president weighed in on Twitter.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 11, 2020

And the president continued to tweet about it on Wednesday morning, writing: “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 New York Times described the Stone case as “one of the most high-profile criminal prosecutions arising from the nearly two-year investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.”

What do these developments tell us about the Department of Justice under Attorney General Bill Barr? How should we consider this recommendation in the context of the dual firings of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindeman and Ambassador Gordon Sondland, two witnesses in the impeachment inquiry?

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