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US attorney general says Donald Trump's tweets make his job 'impossible'

US Attorney General William Barr, left, and President Donald Trump, right. Source: AP

US Attorney General William Barr says some of President Donald Trump's Twitter activity is making his job at the Justice Department "impossible".

US Attorney General William Barr on Thursday delivered a highly unusual public rebuke of Donald Trump, saying the President's tweets were making his job at the Justice Department "impossible".

"I have a problem with some of the tweets," Mr Barr said in an interview with ABC News, adding: "I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me."

"I think it's time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases," said Mr Barr.

His interview came as Mr Trump stands accused of interfering with the sentencing recommendation for his former advisor, Roger Stone - prompting four Justice Department prosecutors to resign from the case this week.

The outburst was all the more remarkable as Mr Barr has emerged as a powerful defender of Mr Trump, earning the nickname of the "president's attorney" from critics.

AP
Attorney General William Barr at the National Sheriffs' Association Winter Legislative and Technology Conference in Washington, Feb. 10, 2020
AP

Mr Barr has been at the center of allegations that he decided - allegedly under pressure from Mr Trump - to overrule his own prosecutors and seek a lighter prison sentence for Stone.

He has previously been criticised by Democrats and legal experts for seeming to assist Mr Trump during the independent investigation into whether the president was helped by a Russian influence campaign during the 2016 election.

The two men are so close that there was immediate speculation that Mr Barr's television interview may have been more about managing public opinion than a real outcry against Mr Trump's alleged interference in judicial affairs.

The controversy comes about a week after the Senate acquitted Mr Trump of impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to pressure on Ukraine to announce investigations, including into Mr Trump's political opponent Joe Biden.

Another staunch Trump ally, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, supported Mr Barr's comments about the tweets.

"If the attorney general says it's getting in the way of doing his job, maybe the president should listen to the attorney general," Senator McConnell told Fox News.

White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said Mr Trump had "full faith" in Mr Barr.

"The president wasn't bothered by the comments at all," she said in a statement.

That message was amplified by Mr Trump's National Security Advisor who insisted the president has "tremendous confidence" in Mr Barr.

"He's a fantastic member of the cabinet, he has a very strong relationship with the president," Robert O'Brien told reporters at the White House.

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