There has been quite a bit of back and forth between President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr the last week or so.
Barr has been handling several high profile issues and cases, and the president has been tweeting on the subjects related to those matters.
But after reports that Barr is considering resigning — the DOJ has responded by making it clear Barr has no plans to step down.
It all started about a week ago when Trump tweeted about the recommended sentencing of Roger Stone. Former Mueller prosecutors recommended that Stone get up to 9 years in prison for lying to investigators when he was caught up by the Russia witch hunt.
Around the time Trump vented his frustrations, reports suggested that Barr and his team were already moving to reduce the recommendation of the sentence.
But when Trump weighed in on the matter, Barr said it made his job much harder because the president’s tweets resulted in critics saying the DOJ is working on Trump’s behalf.
Barr told ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas, “I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.”
“I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody….whether it’s Congress, newspaper editorial boards, or the president," Bill Barr tells @ABC News.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 13, 2020
Days after this interview, the Washington Post published a story alleging that Barr is planning to resign if the president does not stop tweeting.
“Attorney General William P. Barr has told people close to President Trump — both inside and outside the White House — that he is considering quitting over Trump’s tweets about Justice Department investigations, three administration officials said, foreshadowing a possible confrontation between the president and his attorney general over the independence of the Justice Department,” the Post reported.
“’He has his limits,’ said one person familiar with Barr’s thinking, speaking on the condition of anonymity, like others, to discuss internal deliberations,” the report said.
In response, the Justice Department squashed those rumors in a tweet and said Barr is not planning to resign.
“Addressing Beltway rumors: The Attorney General has no plans to resign,” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said.
Addressing Beltway rumors: The Attorney General has no plans to resign.
— KerriKupecDOJ (@KerriKupecDOJ) February 19, 2020
Trump has weighed in on the Stone case since this debacle, but he seemed to do it in a more controlled manner.
On Thursday, Stone was sentenced to 40 months in prison. Trump didn’t explicitly make any promises, but he seemed to tease that he may be considering a pardon for Stone.
“I am following this very closely, and I want to see it play out to its fullest,” Trump told reporters. “I’m not going to do anything in terms of the great powers bestowed upon a president of the United States.”
“We will watch the process and watch it very closely. And at some point, I will make a determination. But Roger Stone and everybody has to be treated fairly. And this has not been a fair process,” Trump said.
Trump seemed to suggest he was considering a pardon for Stone given he called it an “unfair” process several times, but was cautious about saying anything definitively.
His even-keeled response also suggests he values Barr and took his comments to heart about not weighing in on ongoing cases.
Barr has no plans to leave his post and it seems as if the president does not want him to leave either.