• Roger Stone is to be sentenced Feb. 20 before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson
  • Prosecutors recommended a seven to nine-year sentence but were overruled by Justice Department officials
  • President Trump denied he had talked with anyone at Justice about the sentencing recommendation

Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday he would testify before the House Judiciary Committee to answer growing questions about sentencing recommendations in the case of Trump confidant Roger Stone.

All four prosecutors involved in the case withdrew Tuesday – one of them resigning from government altogether – after top Justice Department officials countermanded their recommendation that Stone serve seven to nine years in prison for lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

Stone, 67, whose friendship with Trump goes back decades, was convicted in November on charges stemming from the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Barr agreed to appear March 31, more than a month after Stone is due to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Feb. 20.

In a revised sentencing recommendation filed with the court, Justice made no recommendation.

President roiled the case by expressing outrage at the initial recommendation, demeaned the prosecutors involved and also attacked the judge. He denied, however, talking with Barr about the issue while praising the attorney general for “taking charge” of the case.

“I want to thank the Justice Department for seeing this horrible thing. I didn’t speak to them,” Trump told reporters.

Democrats said they are concerned about what they see as the politicization of the Justice Department, saying Barr’s conduct in office “raises significant concerns.”

“Since President Trump took office, we have repeatedly warned you and your predecessors that the misuse of our criminal justice system for political purposes is both dangerous to our democracy and unacceptable to the House Judiciary Committee,” Democrats said in a letter to Barr confirming his appearance.

Trump’s interference in Stone’s sentencing also raised eyebrows among Republicans. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, told reporters the Justice Department decision to change the recommendation “doesn’t look right” while Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said the president “would be better served by never commenting on pending federal investigations.”

Even Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of Trump’s most vocal supporters, said he didn’t think Trump “should be commenting on cases in the system. I don’t think that’s appropriate.”

Among Democrats, Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts called on Barr to resign.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to investigate the decision-making process.

“This situation has all the indicia of improper political interference in a criminal prosecution,” Schumer said in a letter to Horowitz.