Former Attorney General William P. Barr said he believes the Justice Department likely has enough evidence to “legitimately” charge former President Donald Trump with a crime stemming from his storage of White House documents at his Mar-a-Lago residence.
“I personally think that they probably have a basis for legitimately indicting the president,” Mr. Barr said in an interview with PBS that aired over the weekend.
Mr. Barr said if the Justice Department proves that some the thousands of materials sent to Mar-a-Lago at the end of Mr. Trump’s term were “sensitive documents” and that the former president ignored and misled investigators, then it’s likely that Mr. Trump will face “serious charges.”
The former attorney general stressed that he was speculating about the possibility of criminal charges, but “given what’s gone on, I think they would probably have the evidence that would check the box.”
Mr. Barr’s interview came just hours after Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith as a special counsel to oversee the Justice Department’s Trump probes.
Mr. Trump is under investigation for his handling of presidential documents, including classified materials, after leaving office and his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Mr. Barr, once a Trump loyalist, also said his former boss “failed” as a president and should not be seeking another term.
“He failed. He didn’t do what the whole country hoped — that he would rise to the occasion and rise to the office, and he didn’t do that,” Mr. Barr said.
“So he’s had his chance. He obviously doesn’t have the qualities necessary to unite the party, which is the first step on the road back and he should stand aside,” Mr. Barr added.