January 30, 2023

Former Attorney General Bill Barr called new subpoenas for the federal grand jury investigation of January 6, 202, the Capitol riots a “significant event,” suggesting that government prosecutors are investigating senior Trump administration officials and allies, and even former President Donald Trump .

“It suggests to me that they’re getting a good look at the group at the top, including the president and the people right around him who were involved in this,” Barr told CBS News’ Catherine Herridge in an interview Friday.

The grand jury meets weekly. in late July, Mark Shortformer Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, and according to The Washington Post, Greg JacobPence’s chief adviser, was also questioned by the grand jury.

The Justice Department’s January 6 criminal investigation now includes questions for witnesses about Trump’s close contacts and his campaign for re-election, though it hasn’t been clear from CBS News reports that Trump himself is the target of the investigation – only that prosecutors are asking questions about him and his associates.

Barr also believes that it appears that prosecutors “will try to get a verdict on the matter of executive privilege,” given Reports It was reported by ABC News and other news outlets that former White House counsel Pat Cipollone has been summoned to appear before the grand jury. The former attorney general noted that Cipollone, as an advisor to the Office of the President, “has the strongest claim to executive privilege.”

“That’s kind of the biggest mountain they can climb, and the fact that they’re driving that to me suggests that they want an eventual solution – not just on Cipollone – but you know, that’s going to affect [former White House chief of staff Mark] The promoter and some people too.”

While Barr believes Trump may be able to block some testimony on the grounds of executive privilege, he said, “I don’t think that would block all testimony.” Mark a list of methods for which the privilege argument is “not applicable here”.

“One of the arguments is that Biden gave it up and it will have to be lifted – whether Biden can do it or whether Trump can do it,” he said.

Courts have so far dismissed the former president’s lawsuits to protect documents or testimony with pleas of privilege, on the grounds that the requests were valid and that Biden’s privilege is to waive.

Barr also noted that executive privilege does not apply in criminal cases.

“Another argument they have is that the criminal justice process, unlike Congress — the criminal justice process — executive privilege must give way — you can’t hide behind it when a criminal jury is involved,” Barr said.

“And then they would have other arguments, like the crime and fraud exception,” Barr told Heridge. “If it is part of the crime itself, it will not be covered.”

“The other argument they might make is that certain things weren’t really an executive privilege,” Barr said. The president was acting as a candidate and not as a president.”

However, Barr noted that if the case against Trump turns out to be essentially what the January 6 commission revealed, it may not be enough to convict the former president.

Although he believes the evidence has been assembled, after the January 6 hearings, “if that’s what there is, as a prosecutor, I still don’t see it as a sufficient basis to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed by the president.” Barr said he believes the Department of Justice is still “going deeper into the matter,” and if Attorney General Merrick Garland finds a crime, he will be prosecuted.

The former president was strongly suggesting that he would like to run for president again in 2024. His 2016 campaign manager and former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway He told Herridge last week that Trump is eager to announce his candidacy again and in fact would like to be in the race “already”.

Barr is optimistic about the future of the Republican Party. “I think the future is bright for the Republican Party,” he said, noting that the Republican Party could hold the presidency for the next 12 years.

“I think 2024 is another year in 1980 where Reagan won two terms and then Bush won a third,” he said. It’s what he believes is necessary to “make America great again, you know–a decisive victory in the reaction to the excesses of progressive Democrats.”

But Barr says it is not Trump who will make it happen. “I don’t think he should be the nominee,” he said of Trump. “I think it would be really bad for the party, and I don’t support him as a candidate.”

As the former attorney general said, if Trump wins, he will be a “78-year-old lame duck who is clearly more intent on revenge than anything else.”

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