President Trump tweeted "congratulations" to Attorney General William Barr Wednesday after the Justice Department got involved with the Roger Stone case, causing many to wonder whether Barr was acting at Trump's request on behalf of the president's longtime confidant. Now, Barr himself tells ABC News he was not a fan of those laudatory tweets. The president "has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case," Barr says in a new interview, but "I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases" because those tweets "make it impossible for me to do my job" and add "grist to the mill" of speculation that Trump is interfering with DoJ affairs. ABC calls it a "rare break" with Trump, whom Barr typically defends.
"I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody ... whether it’s Congress, a newspaper editorial board, or the president,” Barr continued. “I’m gonna do what I think is right. And you know … I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me." He added that he's "of course" prepared to deal with any fallout from Trump related to his interview comments, and noted that were Trump to ever ask him to investigate someone for political ends, he would refuse. "As I said at my confirmation hearing, I think the essential role of the attorney general is to keep law enforcement, the criminal process sacrosanct to make sure there is no political interference in it." In other Thursday news related to the Stone case, CNN reports that Jessie Liu, whose nomination for a top Treasury Department job was yanked because her office oversaw Stone's prosecution, has resigned from the department. (Read more William Barr stories.)