Career Justice Department attorneys to tell Congress leadership abused its power in Roger Stone case
WASHINGTON – Still reeling from a highly public clash that led to the firing of one of its most prominent prosecutors, the Justice Department again finds itself under a glaring spotlight as two of its employees told Congress Wednesday that the agency's leadership abused its power at the behest of President Donald Trump.
Aaron Zelinsky, one of the attorneys who prosecuted Roger Stone, said that the Justice Department gave the GOP operative "unprecedentedly favorable treatment" and pressured prosecutors to "cut Stone a break" by recommending a lenient sentence because he is an ally of the president, according to his prepared statement. He and the other prosecutors were told to go along, Zelinsky said, or they could be fired.
John Elias, an attorney in the department's Antitrust Division, said that the agency's political appointees pursued unwarranted investigations over the objections of career employees. One investigation, Elias said, was launched after a Trump tweet.
The pair offered the blistering criticisms of Justice Department leadership before the House Judiciary Committee, which is investigating allegations of political interference within the agency.