Barr agrees to testify to House amid Roger Stone sentencing dispute

US Attorney General William Barr will testify on March 31 after refusing to appear for a year

Congressional Democrats on Wednesday called for an emergency hearing and investigation into the Department of Justice's decision to reduce the recommended sentence for longtime Donald Trump confidante Roger Stone.

The Justice Department said officials made the decision to change the sentencing recommendation before Trump's tweet, and Trump himself said Tuesday that "I have not been involved in it at all".

And the reason for that is to maintain the independence of the Department of Justice to assure the American people that that department is not just the arm of the president to - for him to wield however he wants for his political purposes, particularly when we're talking about criminal prosecutions which come out of the Department of Justice, but to be able to establish that we maintain this type of independence.

On Wednesday, Trump congratulated Barr "for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought".

Stone is due to be sentenced on February 20 after being found guilty in November on seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering, stemming from a government investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election. President Trump told reporters he did not instruct the DOJ to intervene in the case, but said the original proposed sentence - along with the prosecution of Stone - was "ridiculous".

They cited acts from "the past week alone" that included Mr Barr's decision - allegedly under pressure from Mr Trump - to overrule his own prosecutors and seek a lighter prison sentence for veteran Republican political consultant Roger Stone, who has been convicted of lying to Congress and witness tampering. That reversal led to the withdrawal of four prosecutors from the case. And I want to thank, if you look at what happened, I want to thank the Justice Department for seeing this, this terrible thing.

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He was the sixth Trump aide or adviser to be convicted of charges brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.

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Trump said that it was unfair that prosecutors recommended such a high sentence for Roger Stone when Comey hadn't been jailed.

That is why the Justice Department's inspector general must investigate this episode and why Atty.

Stone has denied wrongdoing and called the case politically motivated.

"We are writing to confirm your agreement to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on March 31, 2020", Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., and the 22 other Democratic members of the panel said in a letter to Barr on Wednesday.

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