Barr: Justice Department should appeal ‘deeply flawed’ ruling approving special master in Trump documents case
Former Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday said the decision by a Florida judge to grant former President Donald Trump’s request for a special master to review the documents seized by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago is “deeply flawed” and urged the Justice Department to appeal it.
“The opinion, I think, was wrong, and I think the government should appeal it. It’s deeply flawed in a number of ways,” Barr said during a Fox interview Tuesday.
“I don’t think the appointment of a special master is going to hold up – but even if it does, I don’t see it fundamentally changing the trajectory. In other words, I don’t think it changes the ball game so much as maybe we’ll have a rain delay for a couple of innings.”
Trump-appointed District Judge Aileen Cannon on Monday ordered that a third-party attorney be brought in to review the materials that were taken from Trump’s home and resort in Florida. The order also halts the Justice Department from continuing its review of the materials seized from Mar-a-Lago “pending completion of the special master’s review or further Court order.”
The classification review and intelligence assessments being conducted by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, however, will be allowed to continue.
The Justice Department strongly opposed a special master and has said that its own “filter team” already finished its review of the Mar-a-Lago documents. A DOJ spokesman said Monday that officials are “examining the opinion” and considering “appropriate next steps.”
Cannon’s decision was a significant victory for the former President, who has railed against the Biden administration and Justice Department since the search of his Palm Beach property. Trump’s lawyers had argued that a special master was needed because they don’t trust the Justice Department to fairly identify privileged materials that would need to be excluded from the ongoing criminal probe.
Though Barr was a Trump loyalist during his time as attorney general, he has at times criticized the former President since leaving the administration and hasn’t held back in recent days when asked about Trump’s special master effort.
Barr, in a separate appearance on Fox last week, called the special master request a “red herring” and a “waste of time.” He doubled down on those comments in a phone interview with The New York Times, saying that he didn’t think a special master was “called for.”
Weighing in on the prospect of a DOJ appeal, he told Fox: “I think if DOJ appeals, eventually it will be overturned. I hope they expedite it, but it could take several months to get that straightened out.”