Trump says he has legal right to intervene in criminal cases

Trump says he has legal right to intervene in criminal cases
Attorney General Barr has been seen as Trump ally. Source: AFP
3 Min Read

Daily US Times: President Trump has said that he has “the legal right” to intervene in criminal cases after his attorney general William Barr complained White House tweets were making his job “impossible”.

Trump tweeted about the AG interview on ABC, where the president denied he had ever meddled in any cases.

William Barr asked Mr. Trump to stop his tweets, saying he would not be bullied, but the president ignored the attorney general’s plea to stop tweeting.

On Friday Morning, Trump tweeted: “The President has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.” A.G. Barr This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!”

But it is legally ambiguous whether the US president has the legal right or authority to order the attorney general to open or shut a case because the Justice Department has been meant to operate without political interference since the Watergate scandal of the 1970s.

Trump has previously called for investigations into perceived enemies, such as former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. The case against McCabe had closed by the Justice Department, the lawyers of the former FBI Deputy Director confirmed.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported that the Attorney General had appointed outside prosecutors to review the case against another Trump ally, Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser.

Flynn previously pleaded guilty to lying to investigators in a federal inquiry, but later withdrew co-operation and is in the midst of trying to recant his plea.

Barr speaks out about Trump’s tweet

US Attorney General William Barr criticized Donald Trump saying the President’s Tweet made his task impossible. Mr. Barr also rebuked Trump for publicly commenting on sensitive investigations but insisted the Justice Department had acted appropriately after an extraordinary fall out with career prosecutors who had handled the case of Roger Stone earlier this week.

In an interview with the ABC, he said, “I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”

“To have public statements and tweets made about the department, about 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 Attorney General added.

The criticism came out in a time when Barr is facing mounting scrutiny over his role in the fraught decision to publicly disavow prosecutors who had sought a stiff punishment for Stone, a longtime friend of Trump. Trump congratulated Barr for the move in a tweet, provoking an outcry from Democrats who demanded an investigation.