Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s indictment against Donald Trump is “transparently an abuse of prosecutorial power to accomplish a political act,” which will rally a big portion of his base but “gravely weaken Trump” in the general election, former Attorney General William Barr said April 9 on ABC’s “This Week.”
Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree in a New York City courtroom on April 4.
He was indicted by the Manhattan DA’s office on March 30 following an investigation into an alleged effort to use “hush money” payments of $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s prosecutors before the 2016 presidential election.
The 16-page indictment and accompanying statement of facts reported that Trump “orchestrated a scheme with others to influence the 2016 presidential election by identifying and purchasing negative information about him to suppress its publication and benefit the defendant’s electoral prospects.”
Trump has denied all wrongdoing and the alleged affairs, and said that Bragg, a Democrat, brought the case forward because he is motivated by politics.
“I think it’s an unjust case,” said Barr, who served as Trump’s attorney general from 2019 to 2020. “That’s not to say that every legal challenge that the president faces is unjustified.”
Bragg’s case “lacks merit” and he’s “trying to hide the ball.”
“The left is always talking about the ills of politicizing the criminal justice system, and I couldn’t agree more, that that’s a serious risk … This is, unfortunately, a clear example of that kind of abuse. And I think it also may accomplish its purpose, which is to get into the middle of the Republican primary process and turn it into a circus.”
Ultimately, Barr said, “the savvy Democratic strategists” know that Bragg’s investigation “is going to help Trump, and they want him to be the nominee because he is the weakest of the Republican candidates, the most likely to lose again to [President Joe] Biden.”
“Falsifying a business record is a crime … if it was committed in the course of fraud. And I don’t see anywhere specified in here exactly what the fraud was,” Barr added. “These were his own business records. He was paying himself the hush money and the business records were his own company. He’s the owner of the company. I don’t see who was defrauded.”
When asked if it is likely that Trump will be convicted and sent to prison, Barr explained that he doesn’t think “anything’s going to happen before a nomination is made and even perhaps until the election, the 2024 election.”
“This stuff is going to drag out through ’24, and it’s going to stymie and disrupt the whole Republican primary process,” Barr said. I also think, though, as far as the general election is concerned, it will gravely weaken Trump. He’s already, I think, a weak candidate that would lose, but I think this sort of assures it.”
Trump has “dug himself into a hole” with his “reckless and self-destructive behavior,” Barr said, adding that, “In many respects, he’s his own worst enemy.”
Barr reiterated his previous comments that the classified documents probe is the most serious legal issue Trump is facing.
Special Counsel Jack Smith is heading the investigation that was launched after the Aug. 22 raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home
Before classified materials were discovered at the residences of President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence, Trump was still likely to be indicted for that issue, Barr said.
“And I still think there’s a very good chance of that because, and I think it depends on how sensitive the documents were but also what evidence they have of obstruction and games-playing by the president and whether he directed people to lie or gave them information that was deceitful to pass onto the government,” Barr added.
Investigators exploring the possible mishandling of classified materials by Trump “probably have some very good evidence” that the former president tried to prevent authorities from obtaining the documents after he departed the White House, Barr explained.
“He had no claim to those documents, especially the classified documents. They belonged to the government,” Barr said. “And so, I think he was jerking the government around. And they subpoenaed it. And they tried to jawbone him into delivering documents.
“But the government is investigating the extent to which games were played and there was obstruction in keeping documents from them,” Barr added. “And I think that’s a serious potential case. I think they probably have some very good evidence there.”
From The Epoch Times