By: Tim Klapac, Senior Editor
Americans have grown accustomed to the president’s constant tweeting, some may have even stopped caring about what he says. Supporters of the president may think his tweets are harmless, but his recent behavior has shown that his tweets actually have an impact.
Recently, President Donald Trump may have gone too far and interfered in the trial of his friend, Roger Stone. In November, Stone was found guilty of seven charges, including obstruction of justice and lying to Congress.
Prosecutors recommended Stone be sentenced to nine years in prison, and that is where things get hairy. Attorney General Anthony Barr has come under fire after all of the prosecutors excused themselves from the case after higher-ups at the Justice Department planned to override the sentence recommendation in search of a lighter sentence.
This comes after President Trump tweeted his displeasure with the nine-year sentence and accused prosecuters of carrying out a “miscarriage of justice.” While we aren’t sure if Barr, or anybody at the Justice Department was acting on Trump’s orders to reduce the sentence, the fact that this is happening after the president’s comments is frightening.
After the Justice Department decided to intervene, Trump tweeted his thanks to Barr specifically.
“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,” Trump said.
If the president has the ability to intervene in cases involving their closest friends, it sets a precedent that could change the very structure of our government. The Justice Department is supposed to be able to operate without influence from anywhere else, ensuring a fair and unbiased process. Trump is showing that he does not care about this and wants to use his influence to help his friends and family, which is not how a president should operate.
This decision has caused friction between Trump and Barr as the attorney general expressed his displeasure with the president’s constant tweeting. In an interview with ABC News, Barr said that Trump’s tweets make it impossible to do his job. Barr also said he won’t let the president influence his decisions.
“I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody….whether it’s Congress, newspaper editorial boards, or the president,” he said. “I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”
This conflict could result in a few things, including Barr stepping down from his position. Barr is already the fifth person to fill the role of Attorney General of the United States since Trump took office. If he were to resign, the next person to be appointed would need to understand that whatever the president says, or tweets, goes.
Regardless of your opinions of the president, or whether you believe Barr overstepped or not, the fact that the president is able to enact changes based on what he tweets is a major red flag.