Barr blasts Trump indictment as ‘abomination’
Former Attorney General Bill Barr on Friday blasted the indictment of former President Trump as an “abomination.”
“Obviously, we don’t have the indictment, so there’s a little bit of speculation involved. But based on the news reports, if they’re accurate, this is an abomination,” Barr told Fox Business’s Larry Kudlow.
“It’s the epitome of the abuse of prosecutorial power to bring a case that would not be brought against anyone else,” he continued. “They are going after the man, not a crime.”
Barr, who served as attorney general in the Trump administration, also criticized the presumed legal theory behind the indictment as “pathetically weak.”
“The case is held together by chicken wire and paper clips and rubber bands,” he added. “It’s a lousy case … It’s a shameful episode in our history where this local prosecutor is trying to affect the political process by bringing this case.”
A New York grand jury indicted the former president on criminal charges on Thursday for his role in a $130,000 hush money payment that his former personal attorney Michael Cohen made to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election.
While the indictment remains under seal, legal experts have previously suggested that Trump could face charges for falsifying business records by improperly marking down reimbursements to Cohen as legal payments.
“I actually don’t think that’s a valid claim in this case because the statute actually requires that it be done with the intent to defraud,” Barr said on Friday, adding, “I don’t understand the basis for a fraud claim here.”
“But then they take this misdemeanor, which also has a problem with the statute of limitations, and they try to shoehorn into a felony by claiming that the reason the documents were falsified was to cover up another crime.”
Barr noted that the Manhattan district attorney, who convened the grand jury in the case, seems to be assuming that the hush money payment was effectively a contribution to Trump’s campaign and represents a campaign finance violation.
“I can tell you that’s not the law,” he added. “I don’t think that’s how the Justice Department would view it.”
The former attorney general, once a staunch ally to Trump, has become a frequent critic of the former president since leaving his administration and has previously sided with those investigating Trump in other legal matters. Barr said last fall that the Department of Justice probably had a “basis for legitimately indicting” Trump over the classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago residence.
“If the Department of Justice can show that these were indeed very sensitive documents, which I think they probably were, and also show that the president consciously was involved in misleading the department, deceiving the government, and playing games after he had received the subpoena for the documents, those are serious charges,” Barr said at the time.
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