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Donald Trump “has a penchant for engaging in reckless and self-destructive behavior” and is facing a serious threat of a federal indictment over his handling of classified documents and his supporters’ deadly January 6 attack on the US capitol, his former attorney general William Barr said on Sunday.
“He’s dug himself a hole on the documents and also on the January 6 stuff,” Barr said of the former president during an interview on ABC’s This Week. “That was reckless behavior that was destined to end up being investigated. So it doesn’t surprise me that he has all these legal problems.”
A US justice department special counsel, Jack Smith, is investigating whether Trump obstructed an inquiry into his handling of classified documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
Smith is also investigating Trump’s role in the January 6 attack. Trump told a mob of his supporters to “fight like hell” that day as Congress prepared to certify his defeat in the 2020 presidential election, and many of them then stormed the US Capitol in an assault that has been linked to nine deaths, including the suicides of police officers who defended the building and were traumatized.
One of Trump’s lawyers, Jim Trusty, also appeared on several Sunday television programs to defend the former president. He said during an appearance on ABC’s This Week he was 100% certain Trump did not have classified documents in his possession, despite federal investigators’ assertions to the contrary.
Barr, who has sought to rehabilitate his public image after serving as one of Trump’s closest allies, also attacked the one criminal case opened against the former president, which is contained in charges filed by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg.
Trump faces 34 felony charges related to allegations he falsified business records to cover up hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016, which Bragg’s office maintains was part of a plot to either get around state and federal election laws or to deceive tax authorities.
“I found what’s been put out very opaque,” Barr said on This Week. “And I think if [Bragg] has a good case he would specify exactly what his case is, but he’s trying to hide the ball.”
Trusty also pushed back on the charges.
“It is an absurd situation and multiple prosecutors passed by this,” he said. Bragg’s predecessor Cyrus Vance has said his office was asked to “stand down” on the charges by federal prosecutors who opted against pursuing a case against Trump.
Trusty also called the Manhattan grand jury indictment against Trump a “rancid ham sandwich”, a phrase that alluded to the folksy colloquialism that grand jury indictments imply little about a person’s guilt or innocence because prosecutors “could indict a ham sandwich” if they wanted to.
In addition to the special counsel and Manhattan prosecutors, Trump also faces potential criminal charges in Georgia, where prosecutors are examining whether he violated state law by attempting to overturn the election.
A civil trial is also scheduled to begin in New York on 25 April on allegations that Trump sexually assaulted and defamed E Jean Carroll, a former magazine columnist, in late 1995 or 1996. It’s not known whether Trump will testify in the case, and he could face considerable political damage if he’s found to be liable over Carroll’s claims.
Trump ‘dug himself a hole’ on classified documents and role in January 6 – Barr | Donald Trump
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