Barr, who served in the Trump administration, said a distinction needs to be made between the president’s personal documents, such as notes taken during a meeting, and « highly sensitive » documents « prepared by government agencies for the purpose of action of the government ». He also said almost anyone else in the country would return the documents if asked.
« This particular episode of trying to recover those documents, the government acted responsibly, » he said. « And it was Donald J. Trump who acted irresponsibly. »
The former attorney general also distinguished between Trump’s handling of the documents and the processes other former presidents have used to handle the turnover of sensitive documents at the end of their terms, saying they used safe and orderly procedures.
In differentiating this investigation from others looking into Trump’s conduct, Barr said he has defended Trump in the past, including in response to Alvin Bragg’s recent New York indictment, but this case is different.
“This idea of presenting Trump as a victim here, a victim of a witch hunt, is ridiculous,” Barr said.
“Yes, he was a victim in the past. Yes, his opponents have obsessively hounded him with bogus claims. I have stood by him defending myself from them when he is a victim. But this is very different. He is not a victim here. He was totally wrong to have the right to have those documents. Those documents are among the most sensitive secrets the country has.