'A red herring': Bill Barr pans Donald Trump's request for a special master
Former Trump Attorney General Bill Barr appeared on Fox News Friday afternoon, and appeared to stun both hosts when he informed them that the 13,000 items the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago are government property, and the former president’s call for a “special master” is unnecessary.
“I think the whole idea of a special master is a bit of a red herring,” Barr said, stunning John Roberts who cocked his head in surprise upon hearing the Trump-aligned former AG break ranks.
“The only documents that have been taken – it seems to me that there’s a legitimate concern about keeping [them] away from the government and insulating the government from – would be documents relating to his private lawyer communications, him as an individual and his outside lawyers. If there’s stuff like that, fine, identify it,” Barr said, again going against a Trump team talking point.
The former president’s team has been arguing he should have more than just attorney-client privilege records returned, but also items for which he is claiming executive privilege, which he no longer has because he is no longer president.
“There doesn’t appear to be much of it, I’m not sure you need a special master to identify it,” Barr continued, causing host Sandra Smith to squint in apparent surprise or disagreement. “But what people are missing is that all the other documents taken – even if they claim to be executive privilege, either belong to the government because they’re government records – even if they’re classified, even if they’re subject to executive privilege, they still belong to the government and go to the Archives, and any other documents that were seized, like news clippings and other things that were in the boxes containing the classified information, those were seizable under the warrant because they show the conditions under which the classified information was being held.”
“So I think it’s a red herring. I think it would, you know, at this stage since they’ve already gone through the documents I think it’s a waste of time,” Barr concluded.
Late Friday morning a federal judge unsealed the more detailed inventory list of what FBI agents seized from Mar-a-Lago on August 8. It shows 13,097 items were removed from Donald Trump’s residence/resort, among them over 100 classified documents including 31 documents marked “CONFIDENTIAL,” 54 documents marked “SECRET,” and 18 documents marked “TOP SECRET.”
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