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Tumultuous week at Justice Department

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:28s - Published
Tumultuous week at Justice Department

Tumultuous week at Justice Department

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said he has "the legal right" to interfere in criminal cases, capping a tumultuous week that raised questions about whether he is eroding the independence of the U.S. legal system.

This report produced by Jillian Kitchener

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Tumultuous week at Justice Department

Capping off an extraordinary week at the Justice Department… U.S. Attorney General William Barr has appointed the top federal prosecutor in St.

Louis to review the criminal case against Michael Flynn - former national security adviser to President Donald Trump.

A Justice Department official, on Friday, stressed that the federal prosecutor’s role was not to oversee career prosecutors' work on the Flynn case, but to work alongside them.

The move - coming a month after Flynn told the court he wanted to withdraw his guilty plea on charges he lied to the FBI about interactions with Russia’s ambassador to the United States in the weeks before Trump took office.

Barr’s move also comes as Trump, on Friday, claimed to have the ‘legal right’ to ask him to act on criminal cases.

Trump appeared to quote remarks Barr made in an interview with ABC News, in which the Attorney General said, “The President has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.” Trump tweeted, "This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!" Barr appeared to push back against Trump in the ABC interview, saying, "I think it's time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases." On Tuesday, the DOJ lightened its sentencing recommendation for Trump’s convicted friend and adviser Roger Stone… after Trump criticized DOJ lawyers for recommending Stone be sentenced to up to nine years in jail.

The move prompted all four career prosecutors on the case to withdraw and one of them to quit the government entirely.

It raised questions among critics about whether Trump is eroding the independence of the U.S legal system.

On Friday - prosecutors revealed they would not be pressing charges against former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe - a frequent punching bag of Trump’s.

McCabe was a deputy director who oversaw two of the bureau’s highest-profile and most politically volatile cases: the 2016 probe into then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server, and an investigation into whether Trump's campaign conspired with Russia to win the 2016 election.

That investigation landed McCabe in Trump’s crosshairs.

A source close to the White House said Trump was irked by the DOJ’s decision to drop its criminal investigation of McCabe.




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