The U.S. Justice Department has launched an internal inquiry into circumstances surrounding the decision to ease sentencing recommendations for President Donald Trump’s long-time friend Roger Stone. The review by the department’s inspector general comes after Aaron Zelinsky, a career prosecutor, told lawmakers during a congressional hearing in June that his office received “heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice” to ease its sentencing recommendation for Stone, a political ally of the president.
Stone, 67, was convicted of obstruction, witness tampering and lying to Congress during its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. In July, Trump commuted Stone’s sentence and proclaimed that Stone had been targeted by “an illegal witch hunt.”
A spokeswoman for the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General said she can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.
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