Bill Barr says that Trump cannot be tried for January 6 riot despite being 'morally responsible'


Former Attorney General Bill Barr would not put Donald Trump on trial for the January 6 riot on the Capitol, he said, although he believes the former president was ‘responsible’ and part of a plan to disrupt the certification of the 2020 election.

He said also said that he would probably let the former commander-in-chief skate for taking classified documents home to Mar-a-Lago were he still attorney general.

In a wide-ranging interview with NBC News anchor Lester Holt, which aired in full on Sunday night, Barr dished on his last days in office and the debunked claim that the presidential election was fraudulent.

‘I do think he was responsible in the broad sense of that word, in that it appears that part of the plan was to send this group up to the Hill,’ Barr told Holt in an interview promoting the former AG’s new memoir. ‘I think the whole idea was to intimidate Congress. And I think that that was wrong.’

But Barr would not prosecute Trump if he were still the top law enforcement official in the U.S.

‘I haven’t seen anything to say he was legally responsible for it in terms of incitement,’ he told NBC News.

The National Archives and Records Administration recently discovered that Trump had taken home 15 boxes of classified records, but Barr shrugged it off when asked if the former AG would prosecute him for that.

‘To tell you the truth, I probably wouldn’t,’ Barr said. ‘The whole classification system is done under executive order. It’s the president. The president decides everything.’ 

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Former Attorney General Bill Bar, left, tells NBC News' Lester Holt that he thought former President Trump was 'responsible' for the January 6 attack on the Capitol, but he wouldn't prosecutor him

Former Attorney General Bill Bar, left, tells NBC News’ Lester Holt that he thought former President Trump was ‘responsible’ for the January 6 attack on the Capitol, but he wouldn’t prosecutor him

Ex-AG Bill Bar said that he would probably not pursue a case against Trump for taking 15 boxes of classified documents out of the White House

Ex-AG Bill Bar said that he would probably not pursue a case against Trump for taking 15 boxes of classified documents out of the White House

Barr, left, told Holt that he thinks Trump was 'responsible' for the January 6 attack, but that legally he couldn't hold him accountable

Barr, left, told Holt that he thinks Trump was ‘responsible’ for the January 6 attack, but that legally he couldn’t hold him accountable

Barr said that the ex-President Trump couldn't be tried for removing classified documents because it's the president's job to decided what is classified

Barr said that the ex-President Trump couldn’t be tried for removing classified documents because it’s the president’s job to decided what is classified

Holt asked if Barr's summary of the Mueller report was misleading

Holt asked if Barr’s summary of the Mueller report was misleading

Barr wouldn't know voter fraud if it was staring him in the face, said former president Trump in response to the ex-AG's book

Barr wouldn’t know voter fraud if it was staring him in the face, said former president Trump in response to the ex-AG’s book

Barr has been making the media rounds lately as part of his book promotion for ‘One Damn Thing After Another: Memoirs of an Attorney General.’

In it, he also discusses telling the president to move on from the conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was stolen.

In an excerpt of the book published by the Wall Street Journal, Barr recalls the dramatic moment when former President Trump slammed his hand on his desk and ordered him to go home without delay after he disputed election fraud claims.

During a tense meeting with Trump in the White House, Barr told him: ‘Our mission is to investigate and prosecute actual fraud. The fact is, we have looked at the major claims your people are making, and they are bullsh***.’

In his book, out March 8, Barr makes the case for why he does not believe Trump should be allowed to run for president again in 2024

In his book, out March 8, Barr makes the case for why he does not believe Trump should be allowed to run for president again in 2024 

Barr told The Associated Press that the Justice Department had investigated the claims but found no wide-spread issues that would overturn the outcome. 

‘But you did not have to say that!’ Trump barked, according to Barr. ‘You could have just said, ”No comment.” This is killing me – killing me. This is pulling the rug out from under me.”’ 

The president then said, speaking in the third person, ‘You must hate Trump. You would only do this if you hate Trump.’ 

Barr resigned his post shortly before Christmas in 2020, just weeks before the end of Trump’s term – in an event that has since been revealed to be a sign of inner White House turmoil over Trump’s efforts to push his fraud claims even after they were thrown out of a succession of courts.  

‘And, you know, it was wrong to be shoveling it out the way his team was. And he started asking me about different theories. And I had the answers. I was able to tell him, ‘This is wrong because of this,’ Barr said.

The president got angrier and angrier as he spoke.

‘I said, Okay, well, look, I understand you’re upset with me. And I’m perfectly happy to tender my resignation,’ Barr recalled telling the ex-president.

'Boom!' Former Attorney General Bill Barr says former President Donald Trump slammed his hand on a desk as he accepted his offer of resignation after Barr refused to accept his election fraud claims, which were tossed out of a succession of courts

‘Boom!’ Former Attorney General Bill Barr says former President Donald Trump slammed his hand on a desk as he accepted his offer of resignation after Barr refused to accept his election fraud claims, which were tossed out of a succession of courts

He made the comments to NBC's Lester Holt in an interview, which aired Sunday at 9pm

He made the comments to NBC’s Lester Holt in an interview, which aired Sunday at 9pm

That prompted a furious outburst from Trump, Barr told Holt.

‘And then, boom! He slapped the desk, and he said, “Accepted!”  Accepted!”‘

‘And then, boom! He slapped it again,’ Barr said, slapping his own hand for emphasis. ‘Accepted! Go home. Don’t go back to your office. Go home. You’re done.,’ he says Trump told him.

The former president told NBC News that he fired Barr for not doing the job of AG properly and called him ‘lazy’ and a ‘coward.’

‘Former Attorney General Bill Barr wouldn’t know voter fraud if it was staring him in the face – and it was,’ Trump said in a statement on Friday evening.

‘The fact is, he was weak, ineffective, and totally scared of being impeached, which the Democrats were constantly threatening to do. They ”broke” him.’ 

Barr spent a great deal of the interview with Holt defending his record as attorney general. 

Many have said that he protected the ex-president from his political enemies; in particular, Barr’s statement about the investigation into collusion with Russia’s attempt to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

America’s 17 intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia tried to sway the election in favor of Trump.

Barr chose to release a four-page summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into the election interference, which two federal judge called misleading.

‘This was not a summary of the report,’ Barr said. ‘It was a description of his bottom-line conclusions. I stuck with the bottom line. You say guilty or not guilty.’

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