Former AG Bill Barr called a Trump-appointed judge’s decision in the Mar-a-Lago investigation “wrong.”
A federal judge ruled to appoint a special master to review evidence the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago.
“I think the government should appeal it,” Barr told Fox News.
Former Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday disputed a federal judge’s ruling to appoint a special master to review records the FBI seized last month from Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence.
“The opinion, I think, was wrong, and I think the government should appeal it,” Barr, who was attorney general under the Trump administration, told Fox News. “It’s deeply flawed in a number of ways. I don’t think the appointment of a special master is going to hold up, but even if it does, I don’t see it fundamentally changing the trajectory.”
“I think the fundamental dynamics of the case are set,” Barr continued. “The government has very strong evidence of what it really needs to determine whether charges are appropriate.”
Barr’s comments come after US District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, on Monday granted Trump’s request to appoint a special master to review the evidence the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago on August 8. The decision temporarily halts the Department of Justice from reviewing the documents, delivering a win to Trump who has condemned the raid.
Legal experts have excoriated the judge’s decision, with many also calling on the Justice Department to appeal the ruling.
Neal Katyal, a former acting solicitor general, tweeted that the judge’s order appointing a special master “won’t stop the very serious Trump stolen docs investigation.” But Katyal went on to say that he thinks the Justice Department “has to appeal here” because the ruling sets a “terrible precedent.”
“This ruling is preposterous — especially the part where it blocks the government from continuing to use materials already in its possession,” Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at University of Texas, said in a tweet.
Bradley P. Moss, a national security lawyer, in a tweet said the ruling was “ridiculous and will be immediately appealed by DOJ.”
A detailed inventory of items recovered from Mar-a-Lago by the FBI was unsealed last week. The inventory revealed that 48 empty folders marked “CLASSIFIED” were among the materials recovered by the agents who executed the search warrant at Trump’s Florida home.
In an interview with Fox News that aired last Friday, Barr said he saw no “legitimate reason” for Trump to possess classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. Barr noted that critics of the FBI search on the former president’s personal residence have decried it as “unprecedented,” adding, “well, it’s also unprecedented for a president to take all this classified information and put them in a country club.”
The former attorney general also said that the Justice Department likely had “pretty good evidence” before the search warrant was executed at Mar-a-Lago.
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