WASHINGTON, June 11 (Reuters) – Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr defended the 37-count indictment filed against Donald Trump by special counsel Jack Smith on Sunday. “He’s toast.”
“I was shocked at the level of sensitivity of these documents and how many there were, … and I think it’s a solid number that he intentionally kept those documents under the Espionage Act,” said Barr, who served under Trump. Fox News Sunday.”
“If even half of that is true, he’s toast.”
Barr’s comments, which served as Trump’s attorney general from February 2019 to December 2020, are notable, and many prominent Republicans have been reluctant to criticize incumbent Republican frontrunner White in the 2024 election. domestic breed.
Trump responded to Barr’s comments with criticism and insults. Describing Barr as a “lazy” and “weak” attorney general, Trump said on his social media site Truth Social that he only made the comments out of displeasure and that they were misinformation. “Turn off Fox News when ‘Cutless Pig’ is on,” Trump said.
The former president appeared in federal court in Miami on Tuesday, charged under the Espionage Act with willful retention of highly sensitive national security records, obstruction of justice, making false statements, conspiracy and concealment.
Trump told Politico on Saturday that he would continue his presidential campaign even if he was convicted in the case, saying, “I will never quit.”
He plans to make comments at his Bedminster, New York, golf club at 8:15pm (0015 GMT Wednesday), his presidential campaign said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of pro-Trump supporters traveled in a caravan from Miami to Palm Beach on Sunday to show their support for the former president, as has been done on several occasions since he left office.
Cars decorated with American flags and placards carrying pro-Trump slogans made the 80-mile (130-km) journey, making noise most of the way, before meeting in the parking lot of a Palm Beach grocery store for the rally.
Of the 37 counts against Trump, 31 of them relate to classified and top-secret documents he kept after he left the White House in early 2021.
The indictment alleges that Trump improperly stored the documents at his home in Palm Beach, Florida, refused to turn them over to the government and tried to hide them from the FBI and his own attorney after a grand jury subpoenaed him. He demanded that all records with classified marks be turned over.
His attorney, Alina Hubba, who is not representing him in the case, told “Fox News Sunday” that Trump is innocent of the charges and plans to vigorously defend himself in the case.
In the past, Barr has been a staunch defender of Trump, appointing his own special counsel to investigate whether the FBI improperly opened an investigation into Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign based on flimsy evidence.
But toward the end of his tenure, Barr’s views on Trump weakened after the former president tried to pressure the Justice Department to launch fraudulent voter fraud investigations in an unsuccessful attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Not ‘Personal Papers’
Trump has previously defended his retention of classified records, saying he classified them while in office without evidence — a claim repeated by his allies.
U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” program whether he had any evidence to back up Trump’s claim.
However, Trump’s lawyers have declined to repeat that argument in their court filings in previous cases involving the FBI’s search of his Florida home, and the indictment includes evidence that Trump knew he was retaining highly classified records.
“As president, I could have classified it,” the indictment quoted Trump as saying about a military document he was allegedly shown during a July 2021 meeting at a New Jersey golf club. “Now I can’t, you know, because it’s still a secret.”
Trump and his allies have separately tried to argue that the records at the center of the case are private in nature and covered by the Presidential Records Act.
“He has every right to keep classified documents under the Presidential Records Act,” Hubba told Fox News Sunday.
But Barr said the claim that the documents were Trump’s personal records was “ridiculous on its face.”
He said the records cited in the indictment were “official records” produced by government intelligence agencies and were therefore the property of the US government.
“Defense Department documents about war plans or our capabilities to attack another country are not Donald J. Trump’s personal documents in any universe,” he said.
Sarah N. The Lynch Report; Additional reporting by Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Texas, Arshad Mohammad in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Rami Ayyub and Humera Pamuk in Washington; Editing by Mary Milligan, Paul Simao, and Marguerita Choi
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Sarah N. Lynch is Reuters’ lead reporter covering the U.S. Justice Department outside of Washington, D.C. During his time at the Beatle, he covered the Mueller report and all that used federal agents to quell protesters in the wake of the George Floyd protest. The department’s cases follow the murder, the widespread spread of COVID-19 in prisons, and the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.