Barr says documents case against Trump is ‘entirely of his own making’
By Chris Cameron
Bill Barr, who served as attorney general under President Donald Trump, excoriated his former boss Sunday for “reckless conduct” that led to Trump’s indictment on charges of mishandling classified documents, saying that the case was “entirely of his own making.”
Barr, in an interview with CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” walked through the severity of the charges against Trump. He described Trump’s actions — laid out in a 49-page indictment — as harmful not only to the country but to the Republican Party and the conservative movement that Trump leads.
Barr also attacked Trump’s character in extraordinary language, describing him as “a consummate narcissist” and a “fundamentally flawed person” who would always put his own ego ahead of everything else. He added that he believed Trump had lied to the Justice Department 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 said, adding that “our country can’t be a therapy session for a troubled man like this.”
Mark Esper, who was a defense secretary in the Trump administration, said Sunday that the former president had committed an illegal act and that his actions had put U.S. national security at risk.
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Esper laid out the risks of state secrets being held at Trump’s Florida estate, including in a bathroom, an office, a bedroom and a ballroom, according to the indictment.
“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.”
Trump, who is accused of illegally retaining classified documents and obstructing efforts to retrieve them after he left office, is the first former president to be charged with federal crimes. He pleaded not guilty last week.
Barr and Esper have both become vocal critics of the former president, after opposing Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Esper was fired days after the 2020 election, and Barr resigned the next month.
But Barr was once a staunch legal defender of Trump’s, including during the special counsel investigation into his 2016 campaign’s ties to Russia.
Trump “has been the victim of unfair witch hunts in the past,” Barr said Sunday. But, he insisted, the charges in the documents case were very different.
“This was a case entirely of his own making,” Barr said. “He had no right to those documents. The government tried over a year, quietly and with respect, to get them back — which it was essential that they do — and he jerked them around. And he had no legal basis for keeping them.”