KEY POINTS

  • Sen. Harris has requested that AG Barr explain his decision to the Senate
  • Sen. Blumenthal also expressed concern over "dangerous political interference"
  • Trump has said he did not ask for shorter sentence for Stone

Just hours after President Donald Trump tweeted his disapproval of the Justice Department’s recommendation to sentence his friend, Roger Stone, to seven to nine years in prison, the Justice Department announced that it would be reducing the recommended sentence – and now some lawmakers want answers.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is seeking a public testimony from U.S. Attorney General William Barr, according to The Hill. She wants to know why the Justice Department has suddenly changed course on Stone.

“I request that you immediately schedule a hearing for Attorney General William Barr to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee so that the committee and the American people can understand the Justice Department’s decision to overrule its career prosecutors in this case,” Harris wrote in a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R, S.C.

The Justice Department’s decision has led to accusations that Barr is seeking special treatment for Stone on Trump’s behalf. “The Justice Department’s decision to overrule its career prosecutors, immediately after President Trump’s tweet on Monday, calls into question the independence and integrity of our legal system,” wrote Harris.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., also penned a letter of his own to Graham questioning the Justice Department’s course change and seeking Barr’s testimony over possible “dangerous political interference.”

Harris and Blumenthal are both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In a statement, the Justice Department explained that it would be recommending a lesser sentence for Stone because “the applicable advisory guidelines range would not be appropriate or serve the interests of justice in this case.”

In protest of the revised sentencing recommendation for Stone, all four prosecutors from the Justice Department chose to resign from the case on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters about Stone, Trump said that he didn’t personally ask for a lowered sentence recommendation, but that he would have had “the absolute right” to do so.

Stone has been convicted on seven federal counts, including witness tampering and lying to Congress. His arrest was one of several arrests of individuals linked to Trump and his 2016 campaign which came as a result of Robert Mueller’s special investigation into Russian interference in the election.