Former Attorney General Bill Barr said Friday he believes the federal government has enough evidence to indict former President Donald Trump based on the sensitive documents they recovered from his Mar-a-Lago by the FBI in August.
Barr told PBS’s “Firing Line” host Margaret Hoover that the Justice Department “probably had the evidence” to charge Trump “legitimately” regarding the contents of the document.
Trump recently admitted to transporting the documents from the White House to his home in Florida, but argued he was allowed to because they were “personal”, although Barr apparently disagreed.
Barr said he “believes they were likely” sensitive documents, which leaves the former president open to a litany of potential charges.
If prosecutors can “show that the president was knowingly involved in departmental deception, government deception, and gambling after he received the subpoena for the documents, those are serious charges,” Barr said.
Barr served twice as United States Attorney General, first in the early 1990s in the administration of George HW Bush and then again for the Trump administration.
Bill Barr, attorney general for former President Donald Trump, said he believes the federal government has enough evidence against Trump to indict him.
Trump admitted transporting sensitive documents from the White House to his home in Florida, but he says the documents are ‘personal’ and he cannot be charged for them
This image included in a Justice Department court filing shows a photograph of documents seized during the August 8 FBI search of Mar-a-Lago
While he admitted he was “speculating”, he admitted “I think they probably have the evidence that would tick the box” for the charges.
He also added that he did not believe Trump should run for president again in 2024 because he had “failed” his first term, believing Trump had recently announced his candidacy.
‘He failed. He didn’t do what the whole country was hoping for – that he would rise to the occasion and rise to office, and he didn’t,’ Barr said.
On Monday, a new unsealed filing from Trump’s legal team argued that the Presidential Records Act is “clear” and that a “president determines whether a document constitutes a presidential record or a personal record.”
Trump’s lawyers also argued that it was clear the records were “personal” showing what documents Trump took – but that part of the court document was redacted for public view.
The DOJ hit back in its own filing, arguing that Trump “cannot designate documents that qualify as ‘presidential documents’ under the Presidential Documents Act…as his ‘personal documents’ simply by saying so” or “simply removing them”. of the White House.’
Government lawyers said neither written law nor court precedent gave Trump “the ability to ignore the law by deleting White House presidential records, keeping them (without permission) in personal storage.” , then judging[ing] whether they are personal.
The newly unsealed documents from the Justice Department and Trump’s attorneys were turned over to Judge Raymond Dearie, an independent arbitrator appointed to review the seized documents to determine whether to bar investigators from accessing them.
The department’s filing says Trump claims privilege over 122 documents taken during the federal Mar-a-Lago raid in early August.
Former President Donald Trump brought about 11,000 documents to Mar-a-Lago when he was president, prompting the FBI to seize them
Prosecutors wrote that they should then be granted access to nearly 2,800 other documents that they cannot currently review as part of their investigation.
Under federal law, a president can retain personal records after leaving office, but these must be unrelated to official work.
The Justice Department said about 100 pages of the approximately 11,000 documents seized are marked as classified, and other court documents show government documents were mixed in with items such as press clippings.
If Dearie, a so-called special master appointed to conduct a review of evidence taken from the search, decides the papers are not personal, Trump’s lawyers said Dearie should instead find that they are covered by the executive privilege – while keeping them away from investigators.
This legal doctrine allows a president to keep certain documents or information secret.
The department said Trump could not assert executive privilege over the documents he claimed as personal documents because those documents must not be related to official duties.
“The special master should not engage in this type of game,” the prosecutors wrote.
Prosecutors are investigating whether Trump violated federal law by taking the records and also whether he obstructed the investigation into the missing papers.
Barr also added that he doesn’t think Trump should run for president again in 2024 because he “failed” his first term, believing Trump had recently announced his candidacy.
Former President Donald Trump recently received the Theodor Herzl Gold Medal at the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) gala
Two weeks after the search, Trump filed a civil lawsuit seeking to delay the investigation and retain some investigators’ records by asking a judge to appoint a special master to conduct a review to determine whether some should be considered privileged.
District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, nominated Dearie to the position.
Trump said on social media, without providing evidence, that he declassified all records and that the FBI may have filed evidence.
Trump’s lawyers have made no such arguments in any official court filing.
The Justice Department is appealing Cannon’s decision to appoint a special counsel, telling the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that it exceeded its authority and that its decision harmed the investigation.
Trump’s legal team filed documents Thursday saying Dearie’s review should go ahead.
Cannon initially barred the department from using any seized records for its criminal investigation until Dearie’s examination was complete.
The 11th Circuit later reversed part of Cannon’s order, ruling that she erred in preventing the department from accessing classified documents for its investigation.