Former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr condemned New York Attorney General Letita James (D) over the civil lawsuit she filed against the Trump family, describing it as a “political hit job.”
What about the lawsuit?
On Wednesday, James announced a $250 million lawsuit against former President Donald Trump and his adult children.
The result of a three-year investigation, the lawsuit claims Trump fraudulently mislead investors and tax authorities to inflate the value of his businesses. Trump, James claims, inflated his net worth “to unjustly enrich himself and to cheat the system.”
James claims Trump broke state and federal laws, but she is not criminally prosecuting him. She claims she does not have jurisdiction to pursue charges and has referred the case to federal prosecutors and the IRS.
What did Barr say?
Despite serving in Donald Trump’s administration, Barr is no ally of the former president. But on Wednesday, he called out what he believes is a clear example of partisan attacks.
The former AG gave two reasons for his conclusion, first observing that James campaigned on investigating Trump.
“It’s hard for me not to conclude it’s a political hit job,” he said on Fox News.
“This is a woman who campaigned for office promising she was going to go after Trump, which I think is a tremendous abuse of office to go head-hunting and targeting individuals. So, I think she was targeting Trump,” he said. “This is, after three years, a civil lawsuit, the gist of which is that when the Trump Organization borrowed money, Trump personally guaranteed those loans.”
“To support that, she’s claiming that he inflated his assets on his financial statements. Now, I’m not even sure she has a good case against Trump himself,” Barr explained.
Second, Barr said he is persuaded of partisan motivations because James also targeted Trump’s adult children.
“But what ultimately persuades me that this is a political hit job is [James] grossly overreaches when she tries to drag the children into this. Yes, they had roles in the business, but this was his personal financial statement,” he explained. “It was prepared by the CFO. Accounting firms were involved in it. The children aren’t going to know the details of that, nor are they expected in the real world to do their own due diligence and have it reviewed independently.”
Ultimately, Barr predicted the lawsuit will backfire.
“This, to me, looks like gross overreach, which I think is going to end up backfiring on them because I think it will make people sympathetic for Trump — that this is another example of people piling on because of Trump derangement syndrome, this strong desire to punish him,” Barr said.
Importantly, the fact that James filed a civil lawsuit over criminal charges indicates James “doesn’t have the evidence to make a criminal case.”
“I don’t think it’s gonna go any further,” Barr forecasted.