Former Attorney General Bill Barr described the new federal grand jury subpoenas probing Jan. 6,202 Capitol Riot as “a significant event.” This suggests that government prosecutors may be probing high-ranking Trump Administration officials and their allies and even former President Donald Trump.
Barr stated that “this suggests to me they’re taking an honest look at the group in the top, including his immediate family members who were involved,” in a CBS News interview with Catherine Herridge.
The grand jury meets weekly. In late July,The former chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence testified. The Washington Post reported that Greg Jacob, Pence’s chief attorney, was also interviewed.
Witnesses are now being asked questions by the Justice Department in its criminal investigation into Jan. 6.and his reelection campaign, though it is not evident from CBS News’ reporting that Trump himself is a target of the investigation — only that that prosecutors have been asking questions related to him and his aides.
Barr also surmises that it looks like prosecutors are “going to try to get a ruling on the issue of executive privilege,” given reports by ABC News and other news outlets that former White House counsel Pat Cipollone has been subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury. Former attorney general said that Cipollone was then counsel to the Office of the president and had the strongest claim to executive confidentiality.
“That’s sort of the biggest mountain for them to climb, and the fact that they lead off with that to me suggests that they want a definitive resolution — not only on Cipollone — but you know, this would affect [former White House chief of staff Mark]Meadows, and some of other people too,” he stated.
Barr said that Trump may be able to block some of the testimony by using executive privilege arguments, but he didn’t believe it would. He listed several ways that a privilege argument might not be applicable here.
“One argument,” he said, “is that it was waived by Biden and it will have to be litigated — whether Biden can do it or whether Trump can do it.”
The courts have rejected the former president’s claims to shield documents and testimony with privilege arguments. They argued that the requests were valid and that Mr. Biden had to waive the privilege.
Barr also stated that executive privilege does NOT apply to criminal cases.
“Another argument they have is that that the criminal justice process, as opposed to Congress — the criminal justice process — executive privilege has to give way — you can’t hide behind it when a criminal grand jury’s involved,” Barr said.
Barr stated to Herridge that “and then they would have additional arguments, such as the crime-fraud exemption.” It’s not covered if it’s part the crime. Attorney-client privilege, which is the sworn secrecy that a lawyer has with his client, the president in this instance, does not apply to communications involving the receipt of advice about committing a crime.
Barr stated that “And another argument they would use is that some particular things were not executive privilege.” “The president was acting in his capacity of a candidate, and not the president.”
Barr suggested that even though the Jan. 6 Committee has shown the case against Trump, it may not be enough for the ex-president to be tried.
He believes that there has been increasing evidence, but after the Jan. 6, hearings, “if it is what we have, as attorney General, I still do not see that as a sufficient basis for proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the president committed any crime.” Barr stated that he believes that the Justice Department continues to “digest deeper and deeper into it” and that if Attorney General Merrick Galrland discovers a crime, he will prosecute.
Former president strongly suggests that he would like for him to run again for president in 2024. The former White House counselor and his 2016 campaign managertold Herridge last week that Trump is eager to announce he’s running again and in fact would like to have been in the race “already.”
Barr is optimistic about the future prospects of the GOP. He said that “I believe the future’s brighter for the Republican Party,” suggesting that the GOP could even be the president for the next twelve years.
He said that 2024 would be a new 1980 where Reagan won two terms, and Bush won a third. It’s what he believes is necessary “to make America great again, you know — decisive victory in reaction to the excesses of the progressive Democrats.”
Barr says that it is not Trump who would do this. He said that Trump should not be the nominee. He said, “I believe it would be really bad for party, and I don’t support him being the nominee.”
According to the ex-attorney general, Trump would be a “78-year old lame duck” who is clearly bent on revenge more so than anything else if he won.
Source: CBS News