Bill Barr, a former U.S. Attorney General in the Trump administration who is a dedicated conservative, isn’t impressed with Donald amid the Justice Department’s criminal probe into the handling of sensitive government records from the Trump administration.
The probe, of course, recently led to a raid of Trump’s southern Florida property known as Mar-a-Lago, where FBI agents recovered even more highly sensitive government materials, including information evidently related to gathering intelligence from clandestine human sources that was in an office for Trump on the premises. During a Fox appearance on Friday, Barr undercut Trump’s position. Among other comments, the former top Justice Department official characterized the ex-president harboring classified documents from the U.S. government at Mar-a-Lago as “unprecedented.” Barr also suggested that, even if Trump really did at some point declassify items recovered from his property, that’s still problematic. Flippantly declassifying some of this information could pose serious risks.
“I frankly am skeptical of this claim that ‘I declassified everything,'” Barr remarked, referring to the defense that documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago weren’t actually classified anymore because of action Trump took while in office. “Because frankly, I think it’s highly improbable, and second, if in fact he sort of stood over scores of boxes, not really knowing what was in them, and said, ‘I hereby declassify everything in here,’ that would be such an abuse and show such recklessness that it’s almost worse than taking the documents.”
Asked about potential possibilities for another course of action — besides a raid of Mar-a-Lago — by the Justice Department for recovering the documents, Barr added: “Whether the raid was reasonable under the circumstances, whether there is in fact a case to be made, and whether or not as a matter of prudential judgment that case should be brought depend on two questions: the character of those top secret documents and secret documents. How sensitive were they? And second, how raw is the evidence of deceit and obstruction? Do they have really good evidence from people who were involved of deceit?.. I personally think for them to have taken things to the current point they probably have pretty good evidence, but that’s speculation, and until we see that, it’s hard to say.”
“People say this was unprecedented,” Barr added on Fox Friday. “Well, it’s also unprecedented for a president to take all this classified information and put [it] in a country club, okay? And how long is the government going to try to get that back?.. They were deceived on the voluntary actions taken. They then went and got a subpoena. They were deceived on that, they feel. And the facts are starting to show that they were being jerked around. How long do they wait?”
Notably, the potentially criminal obstruction already cited in the course of the Justice Department’s investigation doesn’t depend on the classification status of the documents authorities sought. Issues like a June statement, signed by a Trump lawyer, insisting all items marked classified at Mar-a-Lago were getting returned to U.S. authorities could independently lead to legal liability. After a May subpoena demanding the return of “all documents or writings in the custody or control of Donald J. Trump and/or the Office of Donald J. Trump” with a series of classification identifiers, “any and all” documents covered by the subpoena were getting returned to authorities, per a signed statement from a Trump lawyer. The statement was not accurate. Check out Barr’s comments below:
"People say this was unprecedented. Well, it's also unprecedented for a POTUS to take all this classified information & put 'em in a country club, ok? And how long is the govt going to try to get that back?" — Bill Barr bodies Trump on Fox News even as anchors try to defend him pic.twitter.com/7HqOvf9xvp
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 2, 2022