Former Attorney General Bill Barr called out the “two standards” from the Biden Justice Department, between its “aggressive” approach with the latest Trump indictment and its “lenient” handing of the Hunter Biden probe on “The Story” Friday.
Barr, who had been critical of his former boss since leaving office in the final weeks of the Trump administration, was vocal in defending the Jan. 6-adjacent charges from the “onslaught of attacks” by critics who allege it’s an abuse of power or weaponization by the DOJ, calling these complaints “overkill.”
“I think there’s a legitimate case from a legal standpoint responding to a very grave misconduct,” Barr told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum before calling into question the wisdom of the decision. “However, all cases are under the discretion of the Attorney General as to whether to bring them, not in question of unfairness to Trump, but in the interest of the public interest and public considerations, and I think that there are some considerations here that I would have seriously considered not bringing the case.”
“One of them is the divisiveness of the case compared to what will be achieved from it, especially in light of the handling of the Hunter Biden case, which crystallizes this very deep-seated feeling that there’s two standards,” he continued. “And here you are being aggressive against the President Trump. I’m not saying that it’s improper to bring the case, but I’m saying it’s an aggressive move versus, I think, very lenient treatment of Hunter Biden. And I think that that is very divisive in the country, and I would have taken that into account.”
Barr warned that “cross[ing] the Rubicon” into criminally going after a former president is a “big deal,” saying he’s worried this can become a “slippery slope for more and more us of the criminal justice process in our political system.”
“I do think that while this is not interference in the election – I don’t agree with that critique, but as a practical matter, it is going to divert the attention and distract people from the election. And I’m afraid we’re going to spend the next year and a half, you know, as if we’re in tuned in a set of reruns of ‘The Perry Mason Show’ versus debating the serious issues that confront the country,” Barr said. “So those are practical reasons why I think it would have been wise maybe not to proceed with it. But I don’t like, you know, all of these overkill attacks that this was somehow reprehensible to bring it. What was reprehensible is the conduct after the election.”
When asked directly whether he would have allowed Smith to bring the charges against Trump, Barr responded by saying he wasn’t sure if he would have “pulled the trigger at the end of the day,” looking at how the Jan. 6 investigation was conducted versus the “inept way it appears that the Hunter Biden case was handled.”
“I have no problem with investigating what happened on January 6, I think that that was the right thing to do… but I’m not sure I would have pulled the trigger at the end of the day… on this case,” Barr said. “But also, there are two levers here, really. There’s this case and then there’s the Hunter Biden case. And both are in the control of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice.”
“An attorney general cannot walk away from this and say, ‘Well, that’s being handled by this person, and that’s being handled by a former Trump person.’ These ultimately are his decisions. He has to own the decisions,” Barr continued. “And I would have liked to see more coordination and more forceful engagement with the questions involving the Hunter Biden case. Does he think that this was a fair and just resolution given the wrongdoing there? And also, more importantly, we need assurance that there was vigorous investigation of the other aspects, the financial aspects of whether Joe Biden was involved in promoting his son’s company and then sharing in the proceeds.”
Smith, appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland, brought two federal indictments against Trump, the first pertaining to his handling of classified documents and the second involving his conduct in the events leading up to Jan. 6.
As Barr alluded, critics have been calling out the DOJ’s handing of the Trump cases versus the Hunter Biden probe, which the DOJ reached what was widely perceived as a “sweetheart deal” before it fell apart in court due to confusion over the immunity he was receiving despite ongoing investigations.
IRS whistleblowers leading the probe in the younger Biden’s tax crimes have come forward alleging DOJ interference in their work, telling lawmakers they were discouraged from looking into whether his father was involved in the shady business dealings and that Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss was blocked from bringing more serious charges in California and Washington D.C., something Weiss himself has pushed backed on despite the fact the claim was partially independently verified by The New York Times.
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