Schumer requests DOJ watchdog probe Roger Stone sentencing recommendation

Schumer requests DOJ watchdog probe Roger Stone sentencing recommendation
© Bonnie Cash
 
Schumer sent a letter to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz on Tuesday saying the DOJ decision has "all the indicia of improper political interference in a criminal prosecution."
 
"The American people must have confidence that justice in this country is dispensed impartially. That confidence cannot be sustained if the president or his political appointees are permitted to interfere in prosecution and sentencing recommendations in order to protect their friends and associates," Schumer wrote.
 
The New York Democrat asked Horowitz to determine "how and why the Stone sentencing recommendations were countermanded, which Justice Department officials made this decision, and which White House officials were involved."
 
Schumer also requested Horowitz give an "expedited review" that ends with him publicly releasing his findings and recommendations "as soon as possible."
 
Democrats have seized on the Justice Department's decision to reduce the recommended sentence for Stone.
 
Schumer tweeted earlier Tuesday that he thought Horowitz "must open an investigation immediately." He said separately during a weekly press conference that he believes Stone should serve the initial seven to nine years recommended.
 
"The president seems to think the entire Justice Department is just his personal lawsuit to prosecute his enemies and help his friends. Rule of law in this grand, grand tradition, in this wonderful Justice Department is just being totally perverted to Donald Trump's own personal desires and needs, and it's a disgrace," he said.
 
The DOJ changed its sentencing recommendation for Stone a day after telling a federal judge the former Trump associate should serve between seven and nine years in prison. 
 
The seven-to-nine-year range was publicly criticized by President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau intends to wrap up count on Oct. 5 despite judge's order Top House Republican calls for probe of source of NYT Trump tax documents New Yorkers report receiving ballots with wrong name, voter addresses MORE, who called it "very unfair."
 
“This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.
 
The initial Justice Department recommendation, made in a filing on Monday, was in accordance with federal guidelines.
 
The government wrote that such a sentence would “accurately reflect the seriousness of his crimes and promote respect for the law.”
 
But in a later court filing, the DOJ recommended "far less" than the seven-to-nine-year range. Several federal prosecutors who made the initial recommendation have since left the case.
 
Stone was convicted in November of seven counts of obstructing and lying to Congress and witness tampering related to his efforts to provide the Trump campaign inside information about WikiLeaks in 2016.
 
Updated at 5:53 p.m.