- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Attorney General William P. Barr on Tuesday defended his management of the Justice Department against Democrats’ allegations that he has politicized it.

“I am supposedly punishing the president’s enemies and helping his friends,” a combative Mr. Barr said in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

“What enemies have I indicted? Could you point to one indictment that has been under the department that you feel is unmerited — that you feel violates the rule of law? One indictment,” he said.

Mr. Barr also pushed back against allegations that he was doing political favors for President Trump’s associates. He cited the criminal case against Roger Stone, a longtime GOP operative and friend of the president.

The attorney general said he brought the criminal case against Stone case, calling it a “righteous prosecution.”

Stone was convicted last year of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction. Justice Department prosecutors had recommended an initial sentence of between seven to nine years.

However, Mr. Barr later recommended a lesser sentence sparking a firestorm in Washington. Democrats accused him of doing favors for Mr. Trump’s friends, and all department lawyers prosecuting the Stone case resigned from it.

Mr. Barr said reducing the sentence was the right call. He said he got involved to “rectify the rule of law.”

“The line prosecutors were trying to advocate for a sentence that was more than twice what anyone else in a similar position had ever served, and this is a 67-year-old man, first-time offender and no violence,” he said.

“I agree the president’s friends don’t deserve special breaks, but they also don’t deserve to be treated more harshly than other people,” Mr. Barr said.

Mr. Barr reasserted his independence again in a testy exchange with Rep. Hank Johnson, Georgia Democrat.

Mr. Johnson accused the attorney general of changing the Stone sentencing recommendation in response to a tweet by the president blasting case prosecutors.

As Mr. Barr tried to answer the question, Mr. Johnson repeatedly cut him off.

“I’m reclaiming my time. I know you don’t want to answer the question. The facts are clear …,” Mr. Johnson exclaimed as he interrupted Mr. Barr’s efforts to answer the question.

“Let me ask you. Do you think it’s fair for a 67-year-old man to be sent to prison for seven to nine years?” Mr. Barr shot back, maintaining that he did not discuss the case with anyone in the White House.

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