Former Attorney General William Barr said Sunday he would testify in the Jan. 6 criminal trial against Donald Trump if called, adding once again that he believed the case against the former president was legitimate.
Barr made the comments Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” telling host Major Garrett he didn’t believe the case ― Trump’s second federal indictment ― violated his First Amendment rights.
“From a prosecutor’s standpoint, I think it’s a legitimate case,” Barr said. “But I think there are other considerations, and I would have taken those into account.”
Barr went on to echo comments he made shortly after Trump was indicted on four criminal counts linked to his efforts to remain in power after he lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden. Prosecutors have charged him with a multi-pronged conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruct an official proceeding and deprive Americans of their right to vote.
The former president has regularly blasted special counsel Jack Smith — who also indicted him over his handling of classified documents — and his attorneys have claimed his effort to spread lies about voter fraud amounted to protected speech under the Constitution.
Barr rejected that assertion earlier this month, an assessment he re-upped on Sunday.
“I don’t think it runs afoul of the First Amendment,” he said on CBS. “The allegation, essentially, by the government is that … the president conspired, entered into a plan, a scheme that involved a lot of deceit, the object of which was to erase those votes, to nullify those lawful votes.”
“This is not a question of what his subjective idea was as to whether he won or lost,” Barr added. “They’re saying, what you were saying consistently, the stuff you were spouting, you knew was wrong.”
Barr refused to say if he had been interviewed by Smith. But Garrett asked the former attorney general if he would appear as a witness in the trial if called.
“Of course,” Barr said.