Attorney General William Barr listens to President of the United States Donald J. Trump speaking on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC, USA.
Stefani Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Attorney General William Barr spoke to President Donald Trump about Roger Stone and advised not to grant him mercy, an official told NBC News.
Other White House officials were also against Trump's decision as they feared a political setback, including Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, a person familiar with the matter.
The official also said the Department of Justice had nothing to do with the President's decision to convert Stone's sentence to seven crimes, which took place just four days before the 40-month Republican agent began in the 67-year-old federal prison.
Barr had previously said that Stone's law enforcement was "fair" and that the verdict was fair, and had defended his decision to refuse Stone's tougher sentence.
The Department of Justice and the White House did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.
Stone, a former election officer, was convicted of lying and disability and witness manipulation after being accused by a large jury of former special adviser Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Democrats quickly criticized the decision and called it an abuse of the rule of law.
"With this transformation, Trump is making it clear that there are two judicial systems in America: one for his criminal friends and one for everyone else," said California MP Adam Schiff.
Utah Senator Mitt Romney was the first Republican to openly criticize the President's decision, calling it "unprecedented historical corruption."
"An American president converts the verdict of a person convicted of lying by a jury to protect just that president," Romney wrote in a tweet on Saturday.
Pennsylvania GOP Senator Pat Toomey said Saturday that while Trump has legal constitutional powers to grant mercy for federal crimes, converting Stone's judgment was a mistake.
"Although I understand the frustration of the badly flawed investigation into Russia collusion, I think it is a mistake to convert Roger Stone's judgment," Toomey said in a statement. "Any objections to Mr. Stone's conviction and trial should be resolved through the appeal process."
Other Republicans praised Trump's move, arguing that the president had a constitutional right to convert punishments.
Ranking House MP, Rep. Jim Jordan from Ohio, tweeted: "Like any president, President Trump has the constitutional right to convert penalties if he believes that this serves the interests of fairness and justice."