This morning Trump is quoting AG Barr from his comments yesterday where he said that Trump has never interfered in a criminal case:
“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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2020
I see the left focusing on Trump’s comment that he has the legal right to interfere. Skip ahead to 3:22 where Barr addresses this very issue:
EXCLUSIVE: Attorney General Bill Barr: If the president "were to say ‘go investigate somebody’…and you sense it’s because they’re a political opponent, then an attorney general shouldn’t carry that out, wouldn’t carry that out." https://t.co/lBtFOWpLkC pic.twitter.com/YcJ0GruGeB
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 13, 2020
That was more about ‘opening’ an investigation than interfering, but Barr did say it was appropriate in most matters for the president to tell the DOJ to investigate something.
And let me remind you, as Breitbart notes, that Trump isn’t the only president who has publicly weighed in on ongoing cases:
In 2015, President Obama told CBS news that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of an unsecured private email server for her official communications may have been a “mistake,” but added: “I don’t think it posed a national security problem.”
The New York Times reported that FBI officials: “saw an instance of the president trying to influence the outcome of a continuing investigation — and not for the first time.” The officials recalled Obama’s comments in 2012 defending then-CIA director David Petraeus, who was under investigation for sharing classified information with a journalist with whom he was having an affair.
In 2013, a Navy judge ruled that President Obama had exerted “unlawful command influence” by harsh comments about the punishment he expected the military would mete out against those accused of sexual harassment. Obama had told a press conference in 2012: “If we find out somebody’s engaging in this, they’ve got to be held accountable — prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged. Period.”
As a result, the Navy judge ruled out dishonorable discharge as a potential punishment in ongoing cases. Later, the conviction of a Marine staff sergeant was thrown out because of the possible influence of Obama’s words.
There’s more, but you get the idea.
As I said yesterday, it’s perfectly acceptable for Democrats to want to ask questions about how and why Barr made his decisions to change the sentencing recommendation in the Stone case. But they’ve gone way too far already with their accusations of corruption, even suggesting they may want to impeach AG Barr over this. And as Levin pointed out yesterday, their suggestion that Barr shouldn’t intervene if his prosecutors do something wrong is absurd.