(NBC News) President Donald Trump is facing rare disapproval from one of his most loyal allies: Attorney General William Barr.
Amid the Roger Stone sentencing controversy, Barr now tells ABC News that he spoke with no one at the White House regarding his Stone sentencing recommendation, that he refuses to be bullied by the president’s public criticism of the Justice Department and that such comments make it impossible for him to do his job.
Barr’s comments came days after the department overruled federal prosecutors in Roger Stone’s criminal case, a decision that resulted in all four prosecutors quitting the case.
Stone – a longtime ally of President Trump – was convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing the Russia investigation. The prosecutors on Monday had recommended that Stone get seven to nine years in prison, a decision Trump lambasted on Twitter as “disgraceful.”
Barr told ABC News that he and his staff had decided to recommend a lower sentence before Trump tweeted because they thought the recommended sentence was too long — but the president’s criticism put them in a tough spot.
As for Barr, the White House says the president is not bothered by his comments and retains full confidence in the attorney general.