Former attorney general Bill Barr said Tuesday that a federal judge’s order to appoint a special master to review classified and top secret documents that were allegedly kept at former President Trump’s Florida residence was a “deeply flawed” decision.
Barr told Fox News host Martha MacCallum that he doesn’t believe the special master ruling will change the Department of Justice (DOJ)’s case against Trump.
“The opinion was wrong and I think the government should appeal it,” Barr said, noting that process could take several months to resolve. “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” of the case, he added.
Barr served as Trump’s attorney general until December 2020. He resigned from the administration and has since caught the former president’s ire after stating that there was no substantial evidence that the 2020 election was fraudulent.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, on Monday granted Trump’s request for a special master to review documents and materials seized by the FBI in an early August search of the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate located in Palm Beach, Fla.
Trump allies hailed the judge’s order as a win.
The DOJ is investigating whether Trump violated the Espionage Act and two other statutes. Over 100 classified records were allegedly obtained from Mar-a-Lago, according to the department. Previously, the National Archives had recovered 15 boxes of documents from Trump in February.
The DOJ argued that a special master appointment was unnecessary because its filter team has already reviewed the materials.
Barr on Tuesday said the DOJ could prosecute Trump over the case but doing so would deeply divide the nation.
“Even if they can technically make the case there’s another step, which is prudentially do they want to do it,” he said. “I hope they don’t do it.”
Trump has decried the FBI’s search of his Florida property as political, and demanded the materials be returned to him, along with a special master to review them. Cannon declined to return the materials to him in Monday’s order.
Barr said Trump cannot use executive privilege as a former president to keep the materials and prevent the DOJ from reviewing them.
“Can the president bar DOJ from reviewing the documents?” Barr said. “The answer to that I think is clearly no.”
This report was originally published on The Hill.