The IG first took an interest in the case after the four prosecutors resigned in protest at the intervention of Attorney General William Barr. Stone was eventually sentenced to 40 months in prison and President Donald Trump later commuted the sentence altogether.
“We welcome the review,” said Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec on Monday.
A spokesman for the IG bureau would neither approve nor deny the investigation.
NBC News first reported the investigation on Monday.
It is unclear what impact an Inspector General Michael Horowitz investigation could have on the Justice Department or the current state of politics. The president repeatedly praised Stone and attacked investigators as part of his re-election campaign. The Independent Watchdog̵
7;s remit is relatively limited to establishing facts and making recommendations, and it often takes months if not years to produce reports from the IG’s office.
The Washington Department of Justice’s attorney’s office originally recommended a stiff sentence for Stone’s belief in lying to Congress, obstructing and threatening a witness. But Barr stepped in and mitigated what the Justice Department asked for his sentence after the president criticized the recommendation in a tweet.
The four prosecutors on the case resigned before sentencing, and since then two have publicly stated – in a Washington Post column and as testimony of Congress – that Barr undercut the law to protect a friend of the president.
The incident has long considered Barr’s political leverage over cases of interest to the president. Prosecutors for Stone’s trial have proven that Stone lied to Congress about his attempts to contact WikiLeaks in 2016 to protect the president.
Since then, the Justice Department and Senate Intelligence Committee have announced the findings of public investigators that Trump may have known of Stone’s efforts and that the campaign encouraged Stone’s tracking of stolen emails that could help Trump win the 2016 election.