House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., fired back at Democrats who criticized Attorney General William Barr for his role in former Trump associate Roger Stone‘s sentencing and defended the president’s use of Twitter after he used the platform to comment about the ongoing criminal case.
“What’s happening here with Barr, I think people need to understand that he’s cleaning up the mess from not only the Obama administration, but also the mess that was left with the whole Russia-gate fiasco,” Nunes told “Fox & Friends Weekend,” saying taxpayers paid tens of millions of dollars to fund then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team “that went chasing and trying to put us into a status of a permanent coup against the president of the United States.”
Nunes’ comments came days after Barr himself publicly swiped at Trump, declaring Thursday that the president’s tweets about Justice Department prosecutors and open cases “make it impossible for me to do my job.”
Barr made the comment during an interview with ABC News just days after his Justice Department overruled its own prosecutors — who had recommended in a court filing that Stone be sentenced to as many as nine years in prison — and took the extraordinary step of lowering the amount of prison time it would seek. The department didn’t offer an amended number.
Barr himself has been under fire for the reversal. Still, it was a highly unusual move for a member of President Trump’s Cabinet to criticize the president.
“I think what the attorney general said was very clear, that the president should be careful making comments about criminal investigations. One should not see that as anything other than but what it is,” Nunez said, adding that Barr “didn’t say to stop tweeting, because the fact of the matter is, with 90 percent of the media being hard left and really just working for the Democratic Party, the president has to be able to tweet.”
Earlier in the week, Trump applauded Barr on Twitter for the decision to reverse the sentencing recommendation, writing: “Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought.”
“He’s built a powerful tool reaching millions of Americans, millions of people around the globe,” Nunes added, “so the president has to tweet. At the same time, the attorney general has to be able to do his job.”
He also said, “It’s understandable that the president can be frustrated,” and called Stone’s dramatic early-morning arrest by federal agents in January 2019 “ridiculous.”
“He’s built a powerful tool reaching millions of Americans, millions of people around the globe… the president has to tweet.”
Nunes credited Barr for doing all he could with the resources at hand to clean up the DOJ and restore the public’s trust in the institution.
“What the American people have to understand is that this is not going to be cleaned up overnight,” Nunes explained. “There’s a lot of damage that has been done, and the left is very good at seeding people in. Remember, the Mueller team was $40 million. We have people within DOJ, dirty cops in the FBI, all over the government. We know what challenges the White House is dealing with all the Obama holdovers in the National Security Council…”
“This is not going to be cleaned up,” he continued, “and I think what conservatives and the American people have to understand, there’s not some magic ‘Hail Mary’ pass. It’s about being in the trenches, one yard and a cloud of dust every single day to try to root these people out of government. And, Attorney General Barr and us in Congress have a difficult job ahead.”
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.