There is nothing more boring than watching government hearings but now that Attorney General Barr has agreed to appear before the House, get your popcorn folks this is going to be a barn burner!
One of the four lead prosecutors in the Roger Stone case told the House Judiciary Committee that senior officials inside the Justice Department were concerned they were being pressured to “go easy” on Stone during sentencing.
Zelinsky said multiple high-level DOJ officials, including J.P. Cooney, the chief of DOJ’s Fraud and Public Corruption Section, were in the room for those discussions and that at least some of those officials were in contact with Barr and then-acting U.S. Attorney Timothy Shea about the matter.
Zelinsky also named Alessio Evangelista, then the first assistant U.S. attorney for Washington D.C., as a participant in those discussions.
Zelinsky’s testimony followed an explosive written statement in which he described intense pressure for the four Stone prosecutors to deviate from DOJ practice and recommend a lighter sentence for Stone. He said he was warned his job could be in jeopardy if he didn’t bend, and the four prosecutors withdrew from the case after they submitted a stiff sentence recommendation and were overruled by DOJ leaders.
Zelinsky also was a member of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team. Zelinsky was rebuked by Republican Representative Jim Jordan when he admitted that he never spoke directly with Barr or other top DOJ officials about Roger Stone’s sentencing.
Barr has agreed that he will go to the House and testify before the House Judiciary Committee next month.
“The Attorney General has accepted an invitation to appear before the House Judiciary Committee for a general oversight hearing on July 28th,” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said.
Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler had threatened Barr with a subpoena however admitted that it would take months of litigation to force Barr to testify.
Barr is going to eat the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee for lunch.