Bill Barr Says Trump Indictment Does Not Run ‘Afoul’ Of The First Amendment

[Screenshot/CBS Face The Nation]

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Former Attorney General Bill Barr defended the indictment against former President Donald Trump Sunday, stating that, despite some claims from conservative legal analysts, it does not run afoul of the First Amendment.

While Barr admitted the case against Trump is “challenging,” he admitted to CBS’ Major Garrett it isn’t one that would conflict with the First Amendment.

“This involved a situation where the states had already made the official and authoritative determination as to who won in those states, and they sent the votes and certified them to Congress. The allegation essentially by the government is that at that point, the president conspired, entered into a plan, a scheme, that involved a lot of deceit, the object of which was to erase those votes, to nullify those lawful votes,” Barr stated.

Barr conceded that, if the indictment was strictly regarding Trump’s insistence that he had actually won the 2020 presidential election, the case would be one that challenges the First Amendment, as Trump’s claims were subjective. Instead, Barr argues, the indictment goes beyond Trump’s claims and focuses instead on actions he took, including false certifications that were signed and attempting to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to use those as a pretext to reject the certifications for Biden and adopt the certifications for Trump. (RELATED: ‘Reduces To A Haiku’: Jonathon Turley Says Many Of The Charges In Trump’s Jan. 6 Indictment Are ‘Protected Speech’)

“You have to remember, a conspiracy crime is completed at the time it’s agreed to and the first steps are taken,” Barr argued.

Barr told Garrett, from a prosecutor’s point of view, he thinks the case against Trump is a legitimate one, though he maintained there were other considerations in bringing about a case as an Attorney General.

“[T]he rubicon was passed here, when- when Attorney General Garland picked [Jack] Smith, because the kinds of decisions — the kinds of judgments that would say don’t bring the case — really have to be made by the Attorney General. And he picked a prosecutor. And I think at that point the decision was, if there’s a case we’re going to bring it. That’s when the rubicon was passed,” Barr concluded.