12:13 GMT13 August 2020
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    US President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday that he did not direct the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to lower Roger Stone's sentencing recommendation.

    At the same time, the US president noted that he "has the absolute right" to make such a request of the DoJ, according to reports from inside the White House. 

    Trump contended that the sentencing recommendation "was a horrible aberration" and declared that the federal prosecutors "ought to be ashamed of themselves." 

    All four prosecutors assigned to the Stone case - Aaron Zelinsky, Johnathan Kravis, Adam Jed and Michael Marando - withdrew from the case on Tuesday. 

    Earlier in the day, anonymous DoJ officials reached out to the media and claimed they were "shocked" by US federal prosecutors' sentencing recommendation of seven to nine years behind bars for Stone, who was found guilty of seven charges back in November 2019. Those charges included witness tampering, obstructing a US House investigation and providing false testimonies to Congress. 

    "The Department finds seven to nine years extreme, excessive and grossly disproportionate. The sentencing recommendation was not what had been briefed to the Department," an anonymous DoJ official told Fox News on February 11. 

    The officials' comments to the press came shortly after Trump took to social media to express his displeasure with the prosecutors' recommendation, which he described as a "miscarriage of justice." 

    Though it was originally reported that the DoJ would announce its own sentencing recommendation, it has since deferred the matter to federal court

    Stone, who served as a campaign adviser for Trump's 2016 presidential bid, was arrested in January 2019 after it was alleged that he had lied to Congress about his ties to WikiLeaks and its publication of leaked files from the servers of the Democratic National Committee

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    Tags:
    Mueller, DNC, White House, prosecution, Roger Stone, US Department of Justice, Department of Justice, Donald Trump
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