William P. Barr, who served as attorney general under President Donald J. Trump, excoriated his former boss on Sunday for “reckless conduct” that led to Mr. Trump’s indictment on charges of mishandling classified documents, saying that the case was “entirely of his own making.”
Mr. Barr, in an interview with CBS News’s “Face the Nation,” walked through the severity of the charges against Mr. Trump. He described the former president’s actions — laid out in a 49-page indictment — as harmful not only to the country, but also to the Republican Party and the conservative movement that Mr. Trump leads.
Mr. Barr also attacked Mr. Trump’s character in extraordinary language, describing him as “a consummate narcissist” and a “fundamentally flawed person” who would always put his own ego ahead of everything else. He added that he believed Mr. Trump had lied to the Justice Department about the classified documents in his possession.
“He’s like a defiant 9-year-old kid who is always pushing the glass towards the edge of the table, defying his parents from stopping him from doing it,” Mr. Barr said, adding that “our country can’t be a therapy session for a troubled man like this.”
Mr. Trump, who is accused of illegally retaining classified documents and obstructing efforts to retrieve them after he left office, is the first former president to be charged with federal crimes. He pleaded not guilty last week.
Mr. Barr has become a vocal critic of the former president but was once a staunch defender, including during the special counsel investigation into Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign’s ties to Russia, which Mr. Barr sought to discredit.
Mr. Trump “has been the victim of unfair witch hunts in the past,” Mr. Barr said on Sunday. But, he insisted, the charges in the documents case were very different.
“This was a case entirely of his own making,” Mr. Barr said. “He had no right to those documents. The government tried over a year, quietly and with respect, to get them back — which it was essential that they do — and he jerked them around. And he had no legal basis for keeping them.”
Chris Cameron is based in the Washington bureau. @ChrisCameronNYT
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