Trump lawyer outlines defense in classified docs probe as Bill Barr makes startling comment
Miami, Florida - Donald Trump's lawyer hinted Sunday at the indicted ex-president's defense strategy in the classified documents case, saying the files were declassified or personal mementos from his time in office and that the accusations are politically motivated.
Trump is set to appear Tuesday in federal court in Miami on 37 charges, including violations of the Espionage act, making false statements, and conspiracy regarding his mishandling of classified material.
One of his lawyers, Alina Habba, argued Trump had done "nothing wrong" and would not take a plea deal to minimize fallout from the case as he seeks his party's nomination for the 2024 election.
"He would never admit guilt, because there was nothing wrong with declassifying documents," Habba told Fox News Sunday.
"This is completely politically motivated. It's election interference at its best."
Habba also portrayed Trump's opposition to federal agents rifling through his boxes during a search at his Mar-a-Lago home as frustration over officials going through his personal effects.
"He has every right to have classified documents that he declassified... things that are mementos, things that he has a right to take."
"So if I'm someone with documents that I have a right to have as the president who left the White House, do I want people rummaging through my personal items? No," she added.
Former Trump AG Bill Bar says charges are "damning"
But the US attorney general in the final year of Trump's presidency, Bill Barr, said his former boss faces "solid counts" filed by the Department of Justice and that Trump is no victim of a witch hunt, as the former leader repeatedly insists.
"The idea that the president has complete authority to declare any document personal is... ridiculous," Barr told Fox.
If even half the indictment is true, "then he's toast," Barr added. "It's very, very damning."
The charges, brought by Department of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith, each carry up to 20 years in prison.
In its indictment, the Justice Department described evidence including an audio recording from a July 2021 meeting that Trump had with an author, a publisher, and two of his staff – none of whom had a US security clearance – in which Trump showed them what he called a "secret" and "highly confidential" document.
"This is secret information... See, as president, I could have declassified it," Trump said on the recording, according to the indictment. "Now I can't, you know, but this is still a secret."
Cover photo: REUTERS