Former Attorney General William Barr said on Sunday that Donald Trump is “toast” if the counts alleging espionage in his ex-boss’s damning indictment are true.
A federal grand jury indicted Trump on Thursday related to the former president keeping classified documents at Mar-a-Lago after leaving the White House in 2021. The indictment unsealed in Florida federal court on Friday includes 37 counts alleging he willfully kept sensitive national defense information under the Espionage Act, made false statements, and conspired to obstruct justice.
Trump has been under investigation for over a year after the National Archives found that many important sensitive documents from the Trump administration were missing from the files turned over at the end of his term in the White House. The archives asked Trump to return the missing documents, and after lots of delay, the former president sent 15 boxes that contained nearly 200 classified documents, some with national security information.
The archives referred the case to the Justice Department, which resulted in the FBI searching Mar-a-Lago and recovering more than 100 additional classified documents in August. Attorney General Merrick Garland then appointed veteran prosecutor Jack Smith as special counsel to oversee the grand jury investigation into the case.
“I was shocked by the degree of sensitivity of these documents and how many there were, frankly. So the government’s agenda was to get those, protect those documents and get them out, and I think it was perfectly appropriate to do that, it was the right thing to do. And I think the counts under the Espionage Act, that he willfully retained those documents, are solid counts,” Barr said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“I do think we have to wait and see what the defense says, and what proves to be true. But I do think that … if even half of it is true, then he’s toast,” he continued. “It’s a very detailed indictment, and it’s very, very damning.”
Since Smith began his investigation, evidence has come out revealing that Trump knew he took sensitive documents that he did not declassify while president and that he actively tried to block the return of those documents to the archives. The ex-president showed classified documents to others on at least two occasions, according to the indictment, including “a classified map related to a military operation” Trump said “he should not be showing.”
During his nearly two years working in the Trump administration, Barr served as a loyal right-wing ally in the Justice Department. He resigned as attorney general in December 2020 after refusing to support Trump’s lies of election fraud.