The move to reduce the recommended prison time for Stone prompted four career prosecutors to quit the case but earned Barr praise from Trump. It fueled criticism that the Justice Department has become politicized and is more focused on protecting the president’s political allies than maintaining independence.
…It was the first time Barr spoke publicly since his department was thrust into a crisis when it reversed course this week on a recommendation about how long Roger Stone, one of Trump’s longtime associates, should go to prison for witness tampering and lying to Congress.
…The prosecutors had asked the judge overseeing the case to sentence Stone to seven to nine years in prison. The next day, after [Trump] had tweeted his opposition to the recommendation, the department switched gears and said that Stone should serve three to four years. The department also called on the judge in the case to account for the 67-year-old Stone’s “advanced age, health, personal circumstances and lack of criminal history.”
…The change to the sentencing recommendation was the second politically charged move revealed by Barr’s department this week.
On Monday, Barr said he had created a special channel for Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to share his “findings” on former Vice President Joe Biden’s connections to Ukraine — an issue that played a central role in Trump’s impeachment and trial.