Barr made the remarks during an interview on “Firing Line” with host Margaret Hoover.
Barr said at the start of the interview that he does not believe that Trump is “the right person to lead either the Republican Party or the country forward” and that he was disappointed when Trump announced he would seek the White House again.
Barr said that part of the reason that Trump was maybe was running again was to insulate himself from unprecedented federal, state, and congressional investigations. “But I think he, you know, he has a monumental ego, and he doesn’t want to go down in history as a loser,” he added. “And he also would like to get revenge on the people that he feels didn’t give him his due.”
Regarding the poor showing Trump’s candidates had in key races during the recent midterm election, Barr said that Trump “picked candidates that were weak candidates simply because they were willing to show their fealty to him by saying that the election was stolen. And that backfired completely.”
Regarding the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago earlier this year as part of their criminal investigation into Trump’s handling of U.S. government records, Barr said, “If the Department of Justice can show that these were indeed very sensitive documents, which I think they probably were, and also show that the president consciously was involved in misleading the Department, deceiving the government, and playing games after he had received the subpoena for the documents, those are serious charges.”
When asked if Trump’s actions were a “serious enough crime” to prosecute, Barr said, “That’s serious.”
“Well, I’ve said that I personally think that they probably have the basis for legitimately indicting the president. I don’t know, I’m speculating,” he said. “But given what’s gone on, I think they probably have the evidence that would check the box. They have the case.”
Barr said that the argument for charging Trump with crimes is that “if you let someone like this who, you know — if the facts are as raw as they may be, and you let someone get away with it, how can you protect these secrets?”
“How can you insist on people in government taking this stuff seriously?” he continued. “So, you know, that’s an important thing to weigh, as well as what the, you know, what it will do to the country and to the office of the presidency. And I think Merrick Garland is going to have to make that call.”
Despite Trump’s legal troubles, Barr said that he remained open to supporting Trump again in the future should he once again be the Republican Party’s nominee for president in 2024.
“I’m just hoping that never comes to that, because I think it would be a tragedy if he’s our nominee, if he’s the Republican nominee,” he said. “I’ll have to see what’s going on in the world, who the Democratic nominee is. If it’s a progressive Democratic nominee, I can’t imagine voting for them.”