Barr: Judge's ruling on special master in Trump documents case is 'deeply flawed'

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Former Attorney General William Barr decried the decision by a federal judge to appoint a special master to review government documents discovered in an FBI raid of former President Donald Trump's Florida home and country club, calling it "wrong" and "deeply flawed."

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed to her position by Trump in 2020, sided with the former president, granting his legal team's request that an independent arbiter be appointed to review the documents, many of them highly classified, that were found during an August search of Mar-a-Lago.

"The opinion, I think, was wrong, and I think the government should appeal it," Barr said during a Tuesday interview on Fox News. "It's deeply flawed in a number of ways."

Numerous legal experts have taken issue with Cannon's ruling, calling it "unprecedented," especially in that it prohibits federal prosecutors from further examining seized documents for an ongoing Department of Justice investigation of Trump until the yet-to-be-chosen special master finishes a full review.

William Barr speaks into a microphone.
Then-Attorney General William Barr at a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., in 2020. (Michael Reynolds/Pool via Reuters)

Barr, who has been a vocal Trump critic since his decision to step down in the face of the former president's pressure campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 election, said Tuesday that the appointment of a special master would not save Trump from the possibility of facing criminal charges in the case.

"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," Barr said. "In other words, I don't think it changes the ball game so much as maybe we'll have a rain delay for a couple of innings."

He added, "But I think the fundamental dynamics of the case are set, which is the government has very strong evidence of what it needs to determine whether charges [are] appropriate, which is government documents were taken, classified information was taken and not handled appropriately, and they are looking into, and there's some evidence to suggest, that they were deceived. And none of that really relates to the content of documents; it relates to the fact that there were documents there and the fact that they were classified, and the fact that they were subpoenaed and were never delivered."

Asked if he believed that the special master decision would be overturned on appeal, Barr offered a qualified response.

"I think if DOJ appeals, eventually it will be overturned," he said, noting that the process "could take several months" to play out.

Pages of redacted information in the released version of the Mar-a-lago search affidavit have numerous lines of text blacked out.
Pages of redacted information in the released version of the Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

In an interview with the New York Times published three days before Cannon issued her opinion, Barr did not mince words on his view of the argument put forth by the former president's lawyers.

"I think it's a crock of shit," he said, adding, "I don't think a special master is called for."

In response to Barr's remarks, Trump lashed out at his former attorney general on his Truth Social platform.

"Bill Barr had 'no guts,' and got 'no glory.' He was a weak and pathetic RINO [Republican in name only], who was so afraid of being Impeached that he became a captive to the Radical Left Democrats - 'Please, please, please don't impeach me,' he supposedly said," Trump wrote. "Barr never fought the way he should have for Election Integrity, and so much else. He started off OK as A.G., but faded fast - Didn't have courage or stamina. People like that will never Make America Great Again!"

Asked if he cared about Trump labeling him a RINO, Barr laughed.

"A RINO for him is anybody who disagrees with him that the election was stolen, right? That's a RINO. Now, as someone who handed out Barry Goldwater literature when I was 14 on the Upper West Side, it's a little silly," Barr said.