Barr Says Trump Testifying Is ‘Bad Idea’ Because ‘He Lacks All Self-Control’

Barr Says Trump Testifying Is ‘Bad Idea’ Because ‘He Lacks All Self-Control’
Attorney General William Barr speaks during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington on Dec. 21, 2020. (Michael Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr said over the weekend that he believes Donald Trump should not testify before a Manhattan grand jury in a criminal case against him because the former president “lacks all self-control.”

Barr, who served as the U.S. attorney general under Trump from 2019 to 2020 and under George H. W. Bush from 1991 to 1993, was asked during an interview with Fox News’ Shannon Bream on Sunday whether Trump should take the stand in court if his indictment goes to trial.

“I mean, I’m not his lawyer, generally I think it’s a bad idea to go on the stand,” Barr responded. “And I think it’s a particularly bad idea for Trump because he lacks all self-control, and it would be very difficult to prepare him and keep him testifying in a prudent fashion.”

Joe Tacopina, Trump’s lawyer, told The Epoch Times on Thursday that Trump is expected to be in New York City for arraignment, with Tuesday, April 4, floated as a possible date, which comes two weeks after the initial arrest date that the former president predicted in a statement on Truth Social.

On March 30, a Manhattan grand jury indicted Trump in connection to a $130,000 payment to adult entertainment actress Stormy Daniels by the former president’s then-lawyer, Michael Cohen. The payment was allegedly made to stop Daniels from going public with an affair she claims to have had with Trump, who denies the claim.

During Sunday’s interview, Barr also said that based on the information that is currently available, the case against Trump appears to be politically motivated.

“Based on what we know, it certainly appears to be, and I think the American people see that,” Barr told Bream when asked if he thinks the indictment of Trump is a “political prosecution.”

“It’s the very essence of the abuse of the prosecutive function, which is pursuing a person rather than pursuing a real crime,” he continued.

Legal Troubles

In addition to Trump’s legal troubles in the probe launched by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg into the alleged “hush-money” payment to Daniels, the former president is currently also facing three other lawsuits and investigations with potential criminal liabilities.

As the leading Republican presidential candidate for 2024, Trump has characterized these legal challenges as part of a political “witch hunt” and attempts to hurt his candidacy. Across the aisle, Trump’s critics describe the investigations as the proper application of the rule of law.

While much of the attention will be on the courthouse in lower Manhattan this week, investigations from Atlanta to Washington will press forward. Trump is potentially facing charges related to election interference in Georgia; a probe into Trump’s handling of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago property; and an investigation into Trump’s alleged interference with the transfer of power after the last presidential election.

Barr, meanwhile, reiterated in Sunday’s interview that he believes the federal investigation into Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified information, which spawned the FBI raid at the Mar-a-Lago resort last August, remains the most serious case.

“I think the document case is the most serious,” Barr said. “I don’t think they went after those documents to get Trump. I think they actually wanted the documents back.”

In an Aug. 30, 2021 court filing (pdf) following the raid, the Department of Justice said it sought the classified documents by issuing a grand jury subpoena in May 2021. The department alleged that after the subpoena was issued, Trump “concealed and removed” government records, and that “efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation,” leading to the department’s application for a raid.

In statements made on Truth Social, Trump defended his conduct by saying that the documents were protected by executive privilege, or the inherent presidential privilege to withhold information from the public; the presidential authority to declassify documents; and attorney-client privilege.

Senior Vice President for Legal Studies at the Cato Institute, Clark Neily, told The Epoch Times that the consequences of this case could vary greatly, and could range from a low-level mishandling of documents charge with no prison time, to a conspiracy charge relating to national security, which could carry 10 to 20 years in prison.

Epoch Times reporter Gary Bai contributed to this report.

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