Republicans in Congress on Wednesday brushed aside calls to investigate possible political interference at the US Justice Department after the agency asked for a lighter prison term for President Donald Trump's longtime adviser Roger Stone.
The Justice Department's decision to back off its sentencing recommendation of seven to nine years for the Republican operative sent shock waves through Washington and prompted all four prosecutors to quit the case and one to quit the agency.
"There should be an investigation," said House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress. Other Democrats accused Trump of purging the US government of perceived enemies following his acquittal on impeachment charges last week.
They said they would question Attorney General William Barr about the matter when he testifies before Congress on March 31.
"You have taken steps that raise grave questions about your leadership of the Department of Justice," Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee wrote to Barr in a letter.
Republican lawmakers, who nearly all voted to acquit Trump of impeachment charges, offered muted criticism of the president but shrugged off suggestions they should investigate whether his political concerns were influencing law enforcement.
After the Justice Department decision, Trump on Wednesday praised Barr, his appointee to the law enforcement job, for "taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought."