Nadler seeks interviews with DOJ prosecutors that left Stone case

Nadler seeks interviews with DOJ prosecutors that left Stone case
© Greg Nash

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse Judiciary Committee postpones hearing with Barr amid coronavirus outbreak House Democrats plead with key committee chairman to allow remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol: 'We are the captains of this ship' MORE (D-N.Y.) on Friday sent a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) demanding information over possible interference in the case of longtime Trump associate Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneJuan Williams: Mueller, one year on House Judiciary Committee postpones hearing with Barr amid coronavirus outbreak Trump 'strongly considering' full pardon for Flynn MORE and requesting interviews with the initial prosecutorial team.

"The Judiciary Committee needs to examine a range of recent actions that smack of political interference, including the Department’s withdrawal of the Roger Stone sentencing recommendation; intervening in the handling of the Michael Flynn prosecution; overruling the decision to relocate Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortJuan Williams: Mueller, one year on Juan Williams: Will the GOP ever curb Trump? Nadler seeks interviews with DOJ prosecutors that left Stone case MORE to Rikers Island; opening investigations into career officials involved in the Russia investigation; and a series of controversial interventions into sensitive antitrust matters," Nadler said in a statement.

In his letter to Barr, Nadler lists four concerns that the House Judiciary Committee has regarding Barr and the DOJ’s conduct, including specifically the department’s “determination to withdraw a sentencing recommendation for President TrumpDonald John TrumpCuomo grilled by brother about running for president: 'No. no' Maxine Waters unleashes over Trump COVID-19 response: 'Stop congratulating yourself! You're a failure' Meadows resigns from Congress, heads to White House MORE's longtime associate, Roger Stone.”

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Nadler says the committee is also concerned about how the department intervened “in the normal handling of a series of criminal proceedings involving the President's associates and former staff, including reducing former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's sentencing recommendation.”

Nadler identified 15 individuals and asked that the department make available those "current and former officials for testimony or interviews regarding these matters."

Among those names are Adam Jed, Jonathan Kravis, Michael Marando, and Aaron Zelinsky, the four U.S. attorneys who prosecuted Stone. All four withdrew from the case in an apparent protest after their sentencing recommendation was overruled, with Kravis leaving his post entirely.

The letter also spells out specific documents the committee wants from the DOJ no later than March 13.

Nadler's request comes before Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrBrooklyn man accused of lying about hoarding medical supplies, coughing at officers Juan Williams: Mueller, one year on States should plan now for November voting options MORE's scheduled March 31 hearing in front of the committee.

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Democrats have raised questions about potential interference in Stone's sentencing. Prosecutors initially recommended a sentence of seven to nine years for Stone. But President Trump took to Twitter to blast that recommendation. Shortly after, the DOJ asked the judge for a more lenient sentence, leading the entire prosecutorial team to withdraw from the case.

Barr has denied that Trump influenced that decision and has criticized the president for tweeting about Stone's case, but Democrats have called for more information on how the DOJ decided to overrule the career lawyers handling Stone's prosecution.

Trump has continued to criticize the handling of Stone's trial, including attacking the judge and a jury foreperson and accusing them of bias.

The judge in the case has sentenced Stone to three years and four months in prison. The judge is also expected to rule shortly on Stone's motion seeking a new trial.

Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsGeorgia makes it easier to get mail-in ballots after delaying primary Overnight Energy: House stimulus aims to stem airline pollution | Environmental measures become sticking point in Senate talks | Progressives propose T 'green stimulus' House bill would ban stock trading by members of Congress MORE (R-Ga.), the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, criticized Nadler's request as "political interference" accusing them of simply trying to "take down President Trump."

“The Democrats’ request today is yet another attempt to distract from the job they’ve failed to do, which is reform FISA and finally address the abuse that has plagued our nation over the last three years. The only political interference our committee should be examining is the FBI’s unlawful surveillance of Carter Page and the Trump campaign," Collins said.

Updated at 11:41 a.m.