Murkowski criticizes DOJ intervention in Roger Stone sentencing

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — Sen. Lisa Murkowski told reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday that she "doesn't like the chain of events" regarding President Trump and the Department of Justice's perceived intervention in the sentencing of lobbyist and political consultant Roger Stone, convicted by a jury of obstructing Congress and witness tampering in November.

"I don't like this chain of events," Murkowski said. "The President weighs in, all of a sudden, Justice comes back and says 'change the deal.' I think most people in America would look at that and say 'hmm, that just doesn't look right.' And I think they're right."

Murkowski didn't go so far as to say what, if anything, should be done in response, and said she doesn't think the president is directly weighing in on sentencing.

“I don’t think the president should be determining what the sentences are but he’s not," she said.

Last Thursday, following her vote to acquit President Trump in the Senate impeachment trial, Murkowski said in a sit-down interview with Channel 2's Washington Bureau reporter Peter Zampa that she hoped the impeachment process would temper the president's behavior in office.

[Related: Full Interview: Murkowski on vote to acquit President Trump in Senate impeachment trial]

"My hope is that, as we move forward, now that it has been made clear that the president has been acquitted on these two charges, that the president has clearly gotten the message that the appearance of wrongdoing, the appearance of impropriety, the unnecessary rhetoric that is only designed to cause both sides to be more angry and more bitter and really more ugly than we need to be, we need to figure out how we all move forward — the Congress certainly does, and the president needs to take to heart the message that has been at play and at issue for these many months now," Murkowski said.

When asked by CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju if she thought Trump had learned a lesson from impeachment, Murkowski demurred.

"There haven’t been any strong indicators this week that he has," she said.

President Trump and the Justice Department say there was no communication over the sentencing issue. 

The president blasted the original sentencing recommendation as “horrible and unfair." On Wednesday he tweeted congratulations to Attorney General William Barr “for taking charge" of the case. Stone has denied wrongdoing and called the case politically motivated.

KTUU reached out to Alaska's congressional delegation for comment. This story will be updated when we receive a response.

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