President Donald Trump has apparently learned nothing from his impeachment.
Instead of acting with restraint and within the rules, the president is continuing to behave like an unrestrained authoritarian leader.
The latest example of a president out of control is the Justice Department’s case against Trump’s longtime ally and confidant Roger Stone.
Four attorneys who prosecuted Stone signed onto a sentencing memo that recommended between seven and nine years in prison for Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to tip the 2016 election.
The four lawyers quit the case after the Justice Department overruled them and said it would take the extraordinary step of lowering the amount of prison time it would seek for Stone.
The Justice Department decision to overrule its own lawyers came after Trump blasted the original sentencing recommendation as “very horrible and unfair.”
Trump slammed the original sentencing recommendation and questioned the judge overseeing the Stone case. He tweeted congratulations to Attorney General William Barr “for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have been brought,” suggesting the prosecutors had gone rogue.
Barr criticized Trump Thursday, saying that the president’s tweets about Justice Department prosecutors and cases “make it impossible for me to do my job.” Barr made the comment during an interview with ABC News just days after the Justice Department overruled its own prosecutors.
The prosecutors were within the sentencing recommendations when they asked for Stone to serve between 87 and 108 months in federal prison, which they said was consistent with federal guidelines.
The prosecutors wrote that “Stone’s actions were not a one-off mistake in judgment” and that he “decided to double — and triple — down on his criminal conduct by tampering with a witness for months in order to make sure his obstruction would be successful.”
The sentence recommended by the prosecutors would send a strong message to deter others who might consider lying or obstructing a congressional probe or tampering with witnesses, they said.
Trump exerted his will on a Justice Department that he often views as an arm of the White House.
Trump’s involvement in the Roger Stone case is the latest example of the president inappropriately interfering with the Justice Department, meant to operate free from White House sway in criminal investigations and prosecutions.