Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr — who served in the role twice, once under former President George H.W. Bush and later under former President Donald Trump — responded to Trump calling him a “RINO” by saying that he has been a hardcore Republican for years.
Trump’s criticism of Barr came after Barr commented Friday afternoon on the latest updates surrounding the criminal investigation into the former president’s handling of classified information at his Florida home at Mar-a-Lago.
“Bill Barr had ‘no guts,’ and got ‘no glory,’” Trump wrote on social media. “He was a weak and pathetic RINO, who was so afraid of being Impeached that he became a captive to the Radical Left Democrats … 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.”
Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum asked Barr on Tuesday afternoon what he thought about Trump calling him a “RINO,” to which Barr responded, “I mean I heard that — I’ve heard that a lot.”
“But, you know, I — you have to remember — a RINO for him is anyone who disagrees with him that the election was stolen, right? That’s a RINO,” Barr continued. “Now, you know, as someone who handed out Barry Goldwater literature when I was 14 years old on the Upper West Side, it’s a little silly for —”
“You don’t think your Republican credentials are in question?” MacCallum laughingly asked.
“Right,” Barr laughed.
Trump’s remarks about the former attorney general on Friday came after Barr dismissed the push from Trump’s legal team to appoint a “special master” to review the items that were seized during the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago. Barr called it “a bit of a red herring.”
“The only documents that have been taken, it seems to me, that there’s a legitimate concern about keeping away from the government and insulating the government from would be documents relating to his private lawyer communications, him as an individual and his outside lawyers,” Barr said. “If there’s stuff like that, fine, identify it. There doesn’t appear to be much of it. I’m not sure you need a special master to identify it.”
“But what people are missing is that all the other documents taken, even if they claim to be executive privilege, either belong to the government because they’re government records — even if they’re classified, even if they’re subject to executive privilege, they still belong to the government and go to the Archives,” he continued. “And any other documents that were seized, like news clippings and other things that were in the boxes containing the classified information, those were seizable under the warrant because they show the conditions under which the classified information was being held. So, I think it’s a red herring … at this stage, since they have already gone through the documents, I think it’s a waste of time.”
Fox News host John Roberts asked Barr if there was “any legitimate reason” for Trump to be in possession of the documents that were recovered during the raid, including “top secret/SCI materials.”
“No. I can’t think of a legitimate reason why they should have been — could be taken out of the government, away from the government, if they’re classified,” Barr said. “I, frankly, am skeptical of this claim that ‘I declassified everything,’ because, frankly, I think it’s highly improbable. And, second, if, in fact, he sort of stood over scores of boxes, not really knowing what was in them, and said, ‘I hereby declassify everything in here,’ that would be such an abuse, and that — and show such recklessness, that it’s almost worse than taking the documents.”