The preparation of the testimony released on Tuesday includes a request that a senior official of the ministry of justice has pushed for less prison time for Roger Stone, an ally of Mr. Trump, because he was “afraid of the president”.
The claims also relate to the antitrust division, where the political leadership had ordered an investigation of manufacturers that have agreed to emissions reductions in California just one day after Mr. Trump had publicly criticized the companies.
The written testimony has been published on the eve of the House of Representatives judiciary committee hearing on Wednesday about the “bad politicization” of the justice department under William Barr, the attorney general, and Mr. Trump.
It comes just days after a scandal over Mr. Barr’s sudden eviction of the Manhattan lawyer, at the weekend. Geoffrey Berman, the minister of justice, had overseen politically sensitive investigations by allies of the president.
Mr. Barr has also faced claims that he has improperly moved to dismiss a case against Michael Flynn, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser. A court is currently weighing whether the application for dismissal.
Aaron Zelinsky, one of the prosecutors set to testify Wednesday, has helped to obtain the conviction in the trial of Mr. Peter for having lied to the Congress in its efforts to communicate with WikiLeaks during the presidential election of 2016.
Earlier this year, Mr. Barr spoke to the inverse of the first sentencing recommendation filed by Mr. Zelinsky and three of his colleagues to 87-108 months in prison. Mr. Stone was eventually sentenced to 40 months.
A spokesman for Mr. Barr said on Tuesday he had seen the original sentencing recommendation as “excessive and inconsistent with similar cases”. She said Mr. Zelinsky account was based on “his own interpretation of the events and hearsay (at best), rather than on discussions with Mr. Barr or other high-level officials.
She added that Mr. Barr has been committed to “the rule of law and the fairness and impartiality of the administration of justice”.
Also, on Tuesday, Mr. Stone asked the judge overseeing his case to allow him to delay reporting to the prison from 30 June to 3 September, citing the sars coronavirus pandemic. The ministry of justice did not oppose the motion.
Mr. Zelinsky and two of the other prosecutors quit the case, according to Mr. Barr stepped in, while a fourth, Jonathan Kravis, resigned from the department entirely as a sign of protest.
In his testimony, Mr. Zelinsky detailed the events surrounding Mr. Stone’s sentencing in February. He said a supervisor in the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia had initially praised the sentencing recommendation he and the other career prosecutors in the drafting.
But in a few days, he said, senior officials have begun to exert substantial pressure” on his team “water in the bottom and, in some cases, downright distort the events that have transpired in [Mr Stone’s] the trial and the criminal conduct that gave rise to his conviction.”
Mr. Zelinsky stated that he has been told by the supervisors that the pressure was for political reasons and, then, acting US attorney Timothy Shea, a former aide-de-camp of Mr. Barr, who is now the acting chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration, has been trying to go easy on Mr. Stone because he was “afraid of the president”.
The DEA declined to comment.
The second attorney, John Elias, working in the antitrust division, and had previously been chief of staff of Makan Delrahim, the Asset of the person named at the head of the division.
Mr. Elias said in his written testimony that the August 22, 2019, the political leadership of the antitrust division ordered an investigation of four vehicle manufacturers — Ford, Volkswagen, Honda and BMW — just one day after Mr. Trump has tweeted about them.
The president had criticized the companies that have agreed to emissions reductions in California that were more stringent than the rules of its management has been trying to push the federal Environment Agency.
The memo of the opening of the investigation had no staff recommendation, stating instead that “the division would open an investigation”, and has been generated by the political lawyers in the division, rather than the application of the lawyers, as would be typical, Mr. Elias said.
“Here, in his first memorandum, the staff acknowledged that it had not fully examined the public record,” he said. During the investigation forwarded to the enforcement staff, they “have expressed concerns about the legal and factual basis” and was asked to delay “will manifest with the investigation.”
“The investigation has proceeded, anyway, with [Mr] Delrahim personally written [to] the vehicle manufacturers to inform them that the division had decided to review the agreement with California,” Mr. Elias said. The survey was finally closed in February with no action taken.
Honda said: “this case is closed, we have nothing more to add.” Ford, Volkswagen, and BMW has also refused to comment on the allegations.
Mr. Elias has also stated in his testimony that Mr. Barr has ordered the division of merger review in the cannabis industry because “it does not like the nature of their underlying activity”, in spite of the view of the staff of lawyers that offers not pose any competition problems.
He said that the exams were not “investigations of potential violations of the federal law”, which still outlaws cannabis, although it is legal, in some degree, in many AMERICAN states.
One of the surveys, a draft agreement between MedMen and PharmaCann, according to Mr. Elias. He said that the staff has deemed lawful, but have been ordered by Mr. Barr to conduct a thorough review.
The antitrust division “negotiated assignment of the compliance with the companies, the obtaining of 1.3 m documents from the files of 40 employees. The investigation confirmed that the markets in question were “not concentrated” and closed in September 2019, without any measure of execution.”
Mr Elias added: “The merger collapsed, however, with MedMen, citing unexpected delays in obtaining regulatory approval.”
MedMen did not immediately respond to a request for comment. PharmaCann could not immediately be reached.
Mr. Elias also said, there were nine other investigations of cannabis trafficking driven by the political leadership at the antitrust division. He said that the staff are instructed not to interview customers or competitors, as usual “in good faith antitrust investigation”, so as not to attract attention.
In the year 2019, a comprehensive review of cannabis mergers accounted for 29% of all of these deep dives, ” he wrote.
A spokesman for the antitrust division said reviews the marijuana industry mergers had already been examined by the ministry of justice, the Office of Professional Responsibility, “which determined that the division acted reasonably and appropriately”.
She said that the OPR investigation was a result of a denunciation, a complaint was filed and has found that “the cannabis industry has provided a unique challenge for the federal and state regulatory agencies, and that it was reasonable for [the antitrust division] to obtain additional information from the industry through its [in-depth review] the process”.
She added that the automakers in the ” research “was entirely consistent with the policies and not the result of any influence from outside of the department. Mr. Elias testimony is based entirely on his opinion and does not provide any evidence to the contrary.”
Morgan Fox, a spokesman for the National Cannabis Industry Association, said it was “unacceptable for Gm leadership of wasting the resources required to harass [cannabis businesses]in particular, over the objections of their own staff”.