US President Donald Trump has tweeted he has “the legal right” to intervene in criminal cases after his attorney general complained White House tweets were making his job “impossible”.
In his post, Mr Trump also denied he had ever meddled in any cases.
America’s top law officer William Barr on Thursday asked Mr Trump to stop his tweets, saying he would not be bullied.
Mr Barr spoke out after Mr Trump renewed his attack on the criminal trial of his ex-adviser, Roger Stone.
Prosecutors had recommended Stone serve a stiff sentence, but Mr Trump tweeted that was unfair.
Mr Barr – who has been accused of bowing to presidential pressure – said on Thursday that President Trump “undercuts” him by tweeting, making it “impossible for me to do my job”.
“I think it is time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases,” Mr Barr told ABC News.
“I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me,” he added.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the president should listen to Mr Barr’s advice.
“If the attorney general says it’s getting in the way of doing his job, the president should listen to the attorney general,” the Republican senator told Fox News.
There was widespread anger this week when the Department of Justice said it planned to reduce the length of the prison sentence it would seek for Stone, a long-time friend of the president.
Stone was convicted in November of obstructing an investigation by the House Intelligence Committee into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Federal prosecutors had initially recommended that Stone should face seven to nine years in jail for trying to thwart the investigation.