Bill Barr delivers devastating takedown of Trump’s Jan 6 indictment defence

Former attorney general left Trump administration in 2020 after disputing Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud

Ariana Baio
Thursday 03 August 2023 15:23 BST
Bill Barr claims Donald Trump ‘ruined lives’ of Capitol rioters

Former attorney general Bill Barr slammed Donald Trump and his defence of the four federal charges he’s facing, saying the ex-president turned people’s lives upside down in pursuit of allegedly trying to overturn the 2020 election and his argument that it was his First Amendment right is invalid.

Mr Trump was indicted on four charges stemming from a Department of Justice investigation into his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the subsequent January 6 attack on the Capitol earlier this week

The ex-president argues the indictment is politically motivated and an attorney for Mr Trump accused the DoJ of having “criminalised” Mr Trump’s First Amendment right to free speech.

But Mr Barr disagrees.

“As the indictment says, they’re not attacking his First Amendment right, he can say whatever he wants he can even lie, he can even tell people that ‘the election was stolen’ when he knew better but that does not protect you from entering into a conspiracy,” Mr Barr said on CNN’s The Source with Kaitlan Collins.

Mr Barr, who served as attorney general in the Trump administration from February 2019 until December 2020, left office shortly after the election – in part due to Mr Trump pushing false claims of election interference.

“Free speech doesn’t give you the right to engage in a fraudulent conspiracy,” Mr Barr said on Wednesday night.

The unsealed indictment specifically says Mr Trump “had a right, like every American, to speak publicly about the election and even to claim, falsely, that there had been outcome-determinative fraud during the election and that he had won” but that he “pursued unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting election results.”

Mr Barr called Mr Trump’s behaviour outlined in the indictment “despicable”, saying his methods of “bullying” the process of electing a leader means he should not be “anywhere near the Oval Office.”

“And for him to be attacking a prosecutor who is investigating that with all the epithets and so forth, which he has no basis for, as far as I can tell, is ridiculous,” Mr Barr said.

In the wake of the indictment, Mr Trump attacked Special Counsel Jack Smith who is leading several probes into the ex-president’s allegedly unlawful behavior. He discredited his authority in investigating Mr Trump both for his alleged involvement leading up to January 6 and alleged withholding of classified documents.

In many of Mr Trump’s previous legal matters, he has attacked the prosecutors, witnesses and Judges.

Mr Barr, told CNN’s Collins that Mr Trump’s loyalty is a “one-way street” and lies nowhere except within himself. He cited former aides to Mr Trump like his co-defendants in the classified documents case Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira.

“He leaves in his wake ruined lives like this – The people who went up to Capitol Hill, these individuals, many of the people who served him in government that got sucked into things and he just leaves all this carnage in his wake,” Mr Barr said.

As for any advice Mr Barr has for Mr Trump’s attorney, he recommended they “get a lot of insurance.

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