Former Attorney General Bill Barr stated on Sunday that he believes that the case against former President Donald Trump is entirely of Trump’s own making.
In an interview with the CBS News program “Face the Nation,” Barr said that he believed Trump’s conduct was “reckless,” yet, he also stated that his former boss shouldn’t go to prison for the alleged crimes.
Barr responded to the 49-page indictment, calling it harmful to not only the country but also the Republican Party and the conservative movement. The former attorney general described Trump as “a consummate narcissist” and a “fundamentally flawed person” – someone who would put his ego ahead of all else. Barr further stated that he believed the former president had lied to the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) about the classified documents in his possession.
“He’s like a defiant 9-year-old kid who is always pushing the glass towards the edge of the table, defying his parents from stopping him from doing it,” Barr noted, adding that “our country can’t be a therapy session for a troubled man like this.”
Federal Indictment for Donald Trump
The behavior outlined in the federal indictment against Donald Trump was not an isolated example, Barr also warned.
“If he was in the White House again, he will always put his own interests and gratifying his own ego ahead of everything else, including the country’s interests,” Barr suggested. “There’s no question about it. This is a perfect example of that.”
Barr is now one of several former Trump administration officials who have broken with the former president following the indictment that includes 37 charges of mishandling classified documents, as well as obstruction of justice, TheHill.com reported.
The indictment alleges that former President Donald Trump kept the classified documents in boxes stored at his home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, including in a bathroom and shower, a ballroom, and his bedroom. The documents allegedly contained information on U.S. nuclear programs, potential vulnerabilities of the U.S. and its allies to a military attack, and plans for potential retaliation in response to an attack.
Trump has also been alleged to have shown the classified documents to others who did not have a necessary security clearance to be able to view them, while he also obstructed the National Archives and Records Administration and the Justice Department’s efforts to recover the documents.
Trump’s Own Making
Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges that include subsequent attempts to retain sensitive materials from the government. The former president and his allies – as well as many of his supporters – have maintained that the indictment was politically motivated, and was an attempt to derail his presidential campaign.
Yet, Barr has suggested that the indictment was entirely of Trump’s making.
“This is not a circumstance where he’s the victim or this is government overreach,” Barr said. “He provoked this whole problem himself. Yes, he’s been the victim of unfair witch hunts in the past, but that doesn’t obviate the fact that he’s also a fundamentally flawed person who engages in reckless conduct that leads to situations, calamitous situations, like this, which are very disruptive and hurt any political cause he’s associated with.”
Barr further stated that it is his belief that Donald Trump lied to the DoJ, and maintained that those Republicans who have accused the department of acting politically in this case are wrong.
“The department had no choice but to seek those documents,” Barr explained. “Their basic argument really isn’t to defend his conduct because Trump’s conduct is indefensible. What they’re really saying is, he should get a pass because Hillary Clinton got a pass six or seven years ago.”
In other words, one wrong by Clinton doesn’t make what Trump did right, or even okay.
“That’s not a frivolous argument. But I’m not sure that’s true,” Barr said. “I think if you want to restore the rule of law and equal justice, you don’t do it by further derogating from justice. You do it by applying the right standard here and that’s not unfair to Trump because this is not a case where Trump is innocent and being unfairly hounded. He committed the crime or if he did commit the crime, it’s not unfair to hold him to that standard.”
The FBI had concluded that Clinton did not act with criminal intent and she was not charged by the Justice Department.
Esper Also Spoke Out
Barr wasn’t the only aide turned critic to speak out on Sunday. Mark T. Esper, who was a defense secretary in the Trump administration, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that he believed the former president had committed an illegal act, and that his actions had put U.S. national security at risk.
“Think about how that could be exploited, how that could be used against us in a conflict,” Esper said, adding that “clearly, it was unauthorized, illegal and dangerous.”
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.