McConnell stands by Barr amid Stone sentencing fallout

Source: Politico | February 18, 2020 | Marianne Levine

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also supports the attorney general.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) reiterated their support Tuesday for William Barr after the attorney general was heavily criticized over the Justice Department’s handling of Roger Stone’s criminal case.

In a joint statement, McConnell, McCarthy and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called Barr a “man of the highest character and unquestionable integrity” and highlighted his previous Senate confirmations.

“Suggestions from outside groups that the Attorney General has fallen short of the responsibilities of his office are unfounded,” the lawmakers said. “The Attorney General has shown that he is committed without qualification to securing equal justice under law for all Americans … The nation is fortunate that President Trump chose such a strong and selfless public servant to lead the Department of Justice.”

Democrats and outside groups attacked Barr last week after the Justice Department revised a sentencing recommendation for Stone, following a tweet from Trump declaring that the initial sentencing recommendation of seven-to-nine years was “horrible and very unfair.” The Justice Department maintains that the agency planned to adjust Stone’s sentencing recommendation before Trump’s tweet. The new recommendation, however, prompted the four career prosecutors assigned to the case to withdraw from the prosecution.

More than 2,000 DOJ alumni have called for Barr to resign, according to the group Protect Democracy, which organized a letter.

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