McCarthy distanced Trump from the decision by the Justice Department to recommend a lesser sentence for Stone than the one initially called for by its prosecuting team, saying it was reached before Trump publicly weighed in on the matter.
“The answer to your question is no, the president is not interfering, because if you listen to the Department of Justice, they made the decision before the tweet ever went out,” McCarthy said at a press conference on Thursday.
Congressional Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have called for an investigation into whether Trump attempted to influence the Justice Department’s involvement in the case, with Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) saying Congress should not rule out the possibility of impeaching Attorney General William Barr.
Trump in a tweet called the initial recommendation “horrible,” and he praised the lesser sentence recommendation.
Pelosi argued Trump, who was acquitted of impeachment charges just last week, had abused his power.
“This is an abuse of power. The president is again trying to manipulate federal law enforcement to serve his political interests,” she said.