Bill Barr Rejects GOP Arguments Against Jan. 6 Trump Charges: ‘It’s a Legitimate Case’ (Video)

But the ex-attorney general refuses to rule out voting for the disgraced former president again

Former Attorney General Bill Barr thinks Special Counsel Jack Smith has strong evidence against Donald Trump.

“It’s a legitimate case,” Barr told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins about the charges filed against Trump on Tuesday, stemming from the Justice Department’s investigation of the Jan. 6 insurrection and Trump’s role in it.

The comment came during a lengthy interview that consisted mainly of Barr refuting nearly every argument Republicans have made against the indictment, while also defending Smith’s character and legal acumen. Barr then pointedly refused to rule out voting for Donald Trump if the ex-president ends up winning the 2024 GOP primary.

Trump was indicted on Tuesday — his third indictment since April — and accused of engaging in a conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election. Per the Associated Press, he was charged with four counts: “conspiring to defraud the U.S., conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding, obstructing an official proceeding and violating a post-Civil War Reconstruction Era civil rights statute that makes it a crime to conspire to violate rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution.”

Trump is specifically being charged under a law designed to stop domestic terrorists like the Ku Klux Klan from using violence to deny citizens their right to vote and to have their vote counted.

Right from the top, Collins asked Barr what he thinks about the indictment.

“I think it’s a legitimate case,” Barr said, before hedging somewhat. He said he wouldn’t personally have brought the case because he fears it will create a “slippery slope” leading to undefined forms of political persecution via the legal system. He also deployed some whataboutist arguments, claiming that the Department of Justice “dropped the ball on the Hunter Biden investigation.”

Despite all that, Barr then contradicted himself, telling Collins, “as a legal matter, I don’t see a problem with the indictment. I think that it’s not an abuse. The Department of Justice is not acting to weaponize the department by proceeding against the president for a conspiracy to subvert the electoral process.”

Barr then shut down the argument made by many Republicans that the indictment is somehow an attack on “free speech,” by explaining what the indictment actually says.

“They’re not attacking his First Amendment right. He can say whatever he wants. He can even lie. He can even tell people that the election was stolen, when he knew better. But that does not protect you from entering into a conspiracy. All conspiracies involve speech, and all fraud involves speech,” Barr said. “So, free speech doesn’t give you the right to engage in a fraudulent conspiracy.”

Barr told Collins he personally believes Trump knew full well he lost in 2020, and he noted how he had investigated numerous claims of fraud only to discover almost none. Trump lost, Barr said, because “he ran as the weakest person on the Republican ticket.”

Barr also shut down the argument that Trump is somehow being victimized by the numerous indictments he’s been hit with. “I think he brought this on himself.”

Barr also dismissed the claims that in Trump’s second indictment for mishandling classified documents out of Mar-a-Lago, he is being unjustly prosecuted for a minor “process” crime.

“Hogwash,” he said, adding that the evidence presented in the case shows “the essence of obstruction, obstruction of a grand jury. It doesn’t get more serious than that.”

When the conversation turned to Smith personally, Barr called him “an aggressive prosecutor,” but insisted, “I do not think that he’s a partisan actor.” Barr also said he thinks Smith has treated Trump fairly.

“I don’t know him, but I know a lot of Republican lawyers who have worked with him over the years, and they tell me he’s a tough, hard-nosed prosecutor, but that he is not a partisan prosecutor,” Barr said.

But as we said, Barr also refused to rule out voting for Trump. Watch that moment below: