WASHINGTON — Still reeling from a highly public clash that led to the firing of one of its most prominent prosecutors, the Justice Department again finds itself under a glaring spotlight as two of its employees are set to tell Congress that the agency’s leadership abused its power at the behest of President Donald Trump.
Aaron Zelinsky, one of the attorneys who prosecuted Roger Stone, is expected to tell lawmakers that the Justice Department gave the GOP operative “unprecedentedly favorable treatment” and pressured prosecutors to “cut Stone a break” by recommending a lenient sentence because he is an ally of the president. He and the other prosecutors “were instructed” to go along, Zelinsky said, because the case was “not a hill worth dying on.”
John Elias, an attorney in the department’s Antitrust Division, is expected to testify that the agency’s political appointees pursued unwarranted investigations over the objections of career employees. One investigation, Elias said, was launched after a Trump tweet.
On Wednesday, the pair will offer blistering criticisms of Justice Department leadership before the House Judiciary Committee, which is investigating allegations of political interference within the agency.