Former Attorney General Bill Barr says Jan. 6 grand jury activity suggests prosecutors

Former Attorney General Bill Barr called the latest federal grand jury subpoenas investigating the January 6, 202 Capitol riots “a significant incident” suggesting that public prosecutors have been involved with high-ranking Trump administration officials and aides and even that the former President is investigating Donald. Trump.

“That suggests to me that they are keeping a close eye on the group at the top, including the president and those around him who were involved,” Barr told CBS News Katherine Herridge in an interview Friday.

The Grand Jury is meeting weekly; at the end of July, mark shortFormer Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff testified, and according to The Washington Post, Greg JacobPence’s lead lawyer was also interviewed by the grand jury.

The Justice Department’s criminal investigation on January 6 now includes questions for witnesses: Communications of people close to Trump And his re-election campaign, though it’s not clear from the CBS News report that Trump himself is the target of the investigation—only that prosecutors are asking questions concerning him and his aides.

Barr also speculated that it looks like prosecutors are “going to try to decide on the issue of executive privilege,” given reports Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone has been summoned by ABC News and other news outlets to appear before a grand jury. The former attorney general noted that Cipollone, as then-counsel to the office of the president, “has the strongest claim to executive privilege.”

“It’s the biggest mountain for them to climb, and the fact that they move with me suggests that they want a certain resolution—not just on Cipollone—but you know, it will impress.” [former White House chief of staff Mark] Meadows and a few others too.”

While Barr thinks Trump may be able to block some testimony with the executive privilege argument, he said, “I don’t think it will block all testimony.” He chose a list of ways in which the privilege argument “is not applicable here.”

“One argument,” he said, “is that it was waived by Biden and would have to be sued – can Biden do it or can Trump do it.”

The former president’s lawsuits for shielding documents or testimony with privilege arguments have so far been dismissed by courts, on the grounds that the requests are valid and that the privilege was to pardon Biden.

Barr also pointed out that executive privileges do not apply in criminal cases.

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

“And then they’ll have other arguments, like guilt-fraud exceptions,” Barr told Herridge. “If it is part of the crime itself, it is not covered.”

“And they would have another argument that certain things weren’t really executive privilege,” Barr said. “The President was acting in his capacity as a candidate, not the President.”

Still, Barr suggested that if the case against Trump is essentially disclosed by a January 6 committee, it may not be enough to convict the former president.

Although he feels that after the last January 6 hearing, evidence is building up, “If so, as the Attorney General, I still do not see this as sufficient ground to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that was a crime committed by the President.” Barr said he believes the Justice Department is still “getting deeper into it,” and that if Attorney General Merrick Garland finds the crime, he will prosecute.

The former president is strongly suggesting that he would like to run for the presidency again in 2024. His 2016 campaign manager and former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told Herridge last week that Trump is looking forward to announcing that he is running again and would really like to be in the race “already”.

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

“I look at 2024 setting another 1980, where Reagan won two terms and then Bush won a third term,” he said. He believes it is necessary “to make America great again, you know – a decisive victory in reaction to the excesses of progressive Democrats.”

But it’s not Trump who will deliver it, Barr says. “I don’t think he should be nominated,” 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 put it, if Trump wins, he will be “a 78-year-old lame duck who is clearly intent on revenge more than anything.”

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