Barr says Trump tweets ‘make it impossible for me to do my job’

Attorney General Bill Barr told ABC News that President Trump "has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case,” but that he should stop tweeting about the Justice Department.
5:42 | 02/14/20

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Transcript for Barr says Trump tweets ‘make it impossible for me to do my job’
First our exclusive interview with attorney general William Barr declaring the president's tweets about the justice department and ongoing cases make it impossible for him to do his job. Pierre Thomas sat down with him and starts us off. Reporter: Good morning. After a week of withering criticism with prosecutors resigning from a high-profile case and president trump blasting justice department's prosecution of an ally William Barr did something unprecedented for a cabinet official, he offered criticism of his boss. This morning, the attorney general taking the rare step of criticizing the president in public pushing back against those tweets about the Roger stone case and other criminal investigations. So you're saying you have a problem with the tweets. Yes. Well, I have a problem with some of the tweets. The president has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case, however, to have public statements and tweets made about the department, about people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending in the department and about judges before whom we have cases make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the department that we're doing our work with integrity. Reporter: Bill Barr's comments came as he was under increasing fire for overruling justice department prosecutors who recommended a seven to nine-year prison sentence for Roger stone. The president furious calling the recommendation horrible and tweeting, cannot allow this miscarriage of justice. Within hours the attorney general officially overruled his own prosecutors. But Barr insists politics played no role in his decision and that it was made well before the president's tweet. Did you talk to the president at all about your decision regarding the recommendations? Never. Anybody from the white house call you to try to influence No. Nope, nope. I have not discussed the Roger stone case at the white house. Reporter: And Barr says he supports Roger stone's conviction despite the president's attack on the case this week. I thought the whole prosecution was ridiculous. The stone case was prosecuted while I was attorney general and I supported it. He was convicted of obstructing congress and witness tampering and I thought that was a righteous prosecution and I was happy that he was convicted. Reporter: He claims trump's tweet about the case put him in an impossible situation. I had made a decision that I thought was fair and reasonable in this case and once the tweet occurred, the question is, well, now what do I do? And do you go forward with what you think is the right decision or do you pull back because of the tweet? And that just sort of illustrates how disruptive these tweets can be. Reporter: He issued this blunt request to the president of the United States. It's time to stop the tweeting about department of justice criminal cases. Mr. Barr, the president does not like to be told what to do. He may not like what you're saying. Are you prepared for those ramifications? Of course. As I said during my confirmation, I came in to serve as attorney general. I am responsible for everything that happens in the department and I'm not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody. I cannot do my job here at the department with constant background commentary that undercuts me. Reporter: And, George, the president's comments including those aimed at the judge in the stone case have riled the legal community. Last night something else rare, the chief justice of D.C. Circuit court appeared to push back against the president saying in a statement, quote, public criticism or pressure is not a factor in sentencing decisions by judges on her court. That will take place next week. Thanks very much. Let's bring in Terry Moran for more on this. Terry, we heard the attorney general there say he's not going to be bullied but he has been criticized by many for acting more as the president's defense attorney and they cite a pattern of behavior coming out of the mulan report. His summary of the Mueller report and even just this week, assigning a U.S. Attorney in Pittsburgh to look into Rudy Giuliani's investigation of what's happening in Ukraine. Reporter: That's right. So there's two levels this is happening on. One, tweets and Barr's response to them which has taken this town and shocked it. The other, substance. Now, there is no question that the underlying statement that attorney general Barr made which is that the president did not interfere in Roger stone's sentencing, the recommendation that was made tracks right with the president and trying to back him off on the tweets because it's using a credibility problem but at the end of the day, nobody is going to stop the president from tweeting. One thing we're seeing, that public criticism yesterday from the president's former chief of staff John Kelly but the president bringing in loyalists back into the white house. Reporter: That's right. So former chief of staff John Kelly really blasting the president for the manner in which he treated lieutenant colonel vindman and others, and taking on the president's judgment essentially on that the president firing back with a scornful tweet but he is cleaning house here. A lot of people he thinks are disloyal are going and bringing back loyalists like hope hicks, one of his most trusted confidantes. We'll turn to that bitter cold blast.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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