Attorney General William Barr asked President Trump to stop his social media commentary on Thursday after a flap over the case involving Trump's adviser Roger Stone.

Barr told ABC News in an interview scheduled to air on Thursday evening that he wants Trump to "stop Tweeting" and that the president's comments made it "impossible" to do his job as the head of federal law enforcement.

Trump has never asked Barr to intervene in a criminal case, the attorney general said, but he added that Trump's commentary surrounding the Stone matter has been corrosive to the image of the Justice Department, which has a tradition of independence from political influence.

ABC News' correspondent Pierre Thomas asked Barr, according to an account given by the network, about whether the attorney general is prepared for the potential consequences of openly criticizing the president.

"Of course," Barr says, according to ABC, vowing that he "won't be bullied or influenced by anybody."

Neither Trump nor the White House had responded immediately to the interview at the time it began to appear on Thursday afternoon.

The Stone matter

Barr's interview followed attacks by what critics perceived as Trump's interference in Stone's case.

Prosecutors filed a memo on Monday in which they recommended between seven and nine years in prison for Stone, who was convicted by a jury last year in a case that stemmed from the Russia investigation.

Trump complained about that recommendation on Twitter, and the same day, a senior Justice Department official told NPR that leaders at the department's headquarters in Washington found the suggested sentence too harsh.

The department directed the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C., to submit a second memo seeking less punishment, which it later did. The four federal prosecutors who had brought the case to that point all withdrew, according to court records.

The senior DOJ official said leaders at headquarters had decided on their own on Monday, after seeing the sentencing memo, that they would request a revision.

But the response following Trump's post on Twitter made it appear that Barr and the department were bowing to the president's desire to protect his friend.

Trump later hailed Barr for "taking charge" of the Stone case, further compounding the perception that the attorney general was taking instructions from Trump.

That isn't so, Barr says in the excerpted ABC News interview, but the appearance that he is puts him in a difficult position — which is why the attorney general says he wants the president to keep silent.

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