Bill Barr, the one-time attorney general under former President Donald Trump, told Fox News on Friday that the former president had “no legitimate reason” to stockpile classified material at his Florida resort. In addition, he defended the Justice Department’s decision to raid Mar-a-Lago, claiming that the Justice Department was “being led astray” by the Trump team.
As a federal judge decides whether or not to grant Trump’s request for a “special master” to review documents seized from his estate last month, the Justice Department revealed on Friday how careless the former president has been with government records. secrets in his private club. .
In an eight-page inventory, the department noted that Trump had casually mixed “TOP SECRET” documents with magazines, books and his wife’s clothes. A box reportedly found in the former president’s office also contained “43 empty envelopes marked ‘CLASSIFIED.’ Federal prosecutors are considering whether to charge Trump with criminal offenses under the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice.
Show on Fox News America Reports on Friday afternoon, Barr — who has distanced himself from Trump over the former president’s campaign lies — immediately rejected Team Trump’s efforts to appoint a special master.
“Well, I think the whole idea of a special teacher is a bit of a red herring,” he stated flatly. He went on to say that Trump’s lawyers have not identified any private attorney communications that should be insulated from government review, adding that everything else appears to be subject to federal seizure.
DOJ reveals Trump stashed secret documents among clothes and gifts
“Those people who are missing, all the other documents that have been taken, even if they claim to be under executive privilege, or they belong to the government because they’re government records, even if they’re classified, even if they’re under executive privilege, they still belong to the government and go to [National Archives]Barr said.
“And any other documents that were seized, such as news clippings and other things in the boxes that contained the classified information, could be seized under the warrant because they show the conditions under which the classified information was held,” he added. “Well I think it’s a red herring. I think they will, you know, at this stage, as they’ve already gone through the paperwork, I think it’s a waste of time.”
Co-host John Roberts noted that Trump and his allies claimed the former president had a “standing order” to declassify any documents he removed from the White House when he left office.
“Is there any legitimate reason for these materials to be in the former president’s possession?” Roberts asked.
“No. I can’t think of a legitimate reason why they should have been—they could be removed from the government, away from the government if they’re classified,” Barr replied. “I’m frankly skeptical of the claim that he declassified the always”.
The former AG continued: “You know, because frankly, I think it’s very unlikely, and secondly, if he actually kind of stood over dozens of boxes, not really knowing what was in them, and said, ‘I’m declassifying everything in Here, that would be such an abuse, and it shows such recklessness that it is almost worse than taking the papers.’
Trump lawyer dismisses DOJ probe ‘Mundane’ for ‘spying’ and ‘obstruction’
Co-host Sandra Smith then said “there are some questions about the timing” before saying some critics wonder if “maybe there was more room for authorities to obtain these materials without raiding the president’s home.” He asked whether the raid “was avoidable” and whether the Justice Department could have just issued a second subpoena to obtain the documents, echoing the Trump team’s claims that they were “cooperating” with federal authorities.
Barr once again didn’t mince words.
“I think for things to have gotten to where they are today they probably have pretty good evidence. But that’s speculation and until we see it, it’s hard to say,” he said.
“Let me just say, I think the driver of this from the beginning was, you know, a bunch of classified information sitting at Mar-a-Lago. People are saying this was unprecedented, it’s also unprecedented for a President to take all this classified information and put it in a country club, okay?”
Barr added: “And how long will the government try to get it back? They jawed for a year, they were deceived about the voluntary actions that were taken, then they went and got a summons, they were deceived about it, they feel, and the facts are beginning to show, that they are being shaken and so how long Do you know how long they wait?!”
In the end, though Barr said he hopes it “doesn’t happen,” the former attorney general suggested the Justice Department may well indict the former president for hoarding classified documents.
“If they clearly have the president moving things and hiding things in his office and telling people to do that — they might be inclined to pursue the case,” he concluded. “And there are differences of opinion about whether that makes sense. But we really have to know the facts to see, to judge about it.”
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