Former White House strategist Steve Bannon issued a warning on Friday to ex-Attorney General Bill Barr for recently criticizing Donald Trump.
Barr said in an interview on Thursday with CBS News that Trump is “very exposed” legally in his alleged mishandling of classified documents that were seized by FBI agents from the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida last August.
Trump is now being investigated for illegally keeping the documents, which he took from the White House after leaving office in 2021. The former president has maintained his innocence in the case and claimed that he declassified them before transferring them to Mar-a-Lago. Trump’s claim of “automatically” declassifying the documents when they were placed into boxes is not “gonna fly,” Barr added during his interview.
“I’ve said all along that of the cases out there right now, the one I’d be most concerned about, if I were the president, is the Mar-a-Lago document case,” Barr said. When asked why by CBS News’ Catherine Herridge, he said it was due to the investigation not being largely focused “on intent or anything like that.”
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) told Trump on Thursday that 16 records would be handed over to special counsel Jack Smith, who is overseeing the case. Multiple sources told CNN that Trump and his top advisers had knowledge of the correct declassification process while he was president.
“It’s very clear that he had no business having those documents,” the former attorney general said Thursday. “He was given a long time to send them back and he was—they were subpoenaed. And if there’s any games being played there, he’s going to be very exposed.”
Bannon shared Barr’s remarks on Friday and commented on Gettr, “First Prosecution in President Trump’s 2nd Term—Bill Barr …..The worse type of Republican Establishment vermin.”
The former Trump official made a similar comment last year as he floated the idea that Barr could face trial if Republicans take back the White House in 2024. Trump announced his 2024 presidential bid this past November, even though some Republicans have expressed their preferences for other potential candidates.
During his War Room podcast at the time, Bannon blasted Barr and his memoir One Damn Thing After Another. Bannon added that Barr’s book, which he called “shocking,” would be used as evidence against him if the GOP takes back the White House.
Bannon also criticized Barr during that segment for “the lies he tells about election fraud, the lies he tells about misleading President Trump.”
“I would tell to Bill Barr, ‘Preserve your documents, preserve your documents, OK?’” he said.
Once a Trump loyalist, Barr has long received backlash from some Republicans and conservatives for repeatedly stating that there is “no evidence” to support claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election which Joe Biden won. Barr resigned as attorney general in mid-December 2020, just over a month before Trump left the White House and before the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, another incident the former president is being investigated for by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Newsweek reached out by email to Barr through the Center for Legal Action, where he serves as an advisory board chair.