Former AG Barr agrees with Trump that D.C. is too biased for fair trial, supports call for change of venue

August 4, 2023
Ben Marquis

Former Attorney General Bill Barr is clearly no longer a fan of former President Donald Trump, and while he has signaled his general support for prosecutorial efforts to hold his former boss accountable for alleged misdeeds, he is nonetheless insistent that it be done in a fair and non-political manner.

In that regard, Barr seemingly sided with Trump on Thursday when he expressed his belief that the former president would be unable to receive a fair trial in overwhelmingly partisan Washington D.C., Breitbart reported.

That same argument has been made by Trump and his defense attorneys this week following a new indictment from Special Counsel Jack Smith that includes criminal charges related to his efforts to challenge the 2020 election results and delay the congressional certification of those results on Jan. 6, 2021.

Barr says change of venue motion is "worthy of consideration"

About midway through an interview on Thursday's episode of "PBS NewsHour," host Geoff Bennett asked former AG Barr, "Can Mr. Trump get a fair trial in Washington, D.C.? Because his legal team is asking for a change of venue, or at least they say they're going to ask for a change of venue, because they say that D.C. isn't politically favorable."

"To be honest," Barr replied, "I feel strongly that the most important thing in any of these, whether you like the defendant, whether you're rooting for him or not, is fairness to the individual."

"And, to be honest, I think that this may not be the -- a fair jurisdiction for him, given the heat of political sentiment these days," he continued. "So, I think that motion is worthy of consideration."

Bennett attempted to ask another question but Barr interjected and said, "I would just point out that the other case -- I thought the Justice Department sought venue in Florida, rather than D.C., and then it was moved to an even more favorable jurisdiction, Fort Pierce."

"So that favors the president, President Trump. I think it would be good to consider that here," the former attorney general added.

Trump and attorneys call for case to be moved to West Virginia

AS PBS host Bennett alluded to in his discussion with former AG Barr, former President Trump and his legal team have already strongly signaled their intention to seek a change of venue away from Washington D.C. in this new case unveiled this week by Special Counsel Smith, according to The Hill.

Trump, in a Tuesday post to his Truth Social account, said it would be "IMPOSSIBLE to get a fair trial in Washington, D.C., which is over 95 [percent] anti-Trump, [and] for which I have called for a Federal TAKEOVER in order to bring our Capital back to Greatness." In that same post, he also expressed his hope that the case "be moved to an impartial Venue, such as the politically unbiased nearby State of West Virginia!"

The Hill noted that a similar sentiment was shared by Trump's attorney John Lauro during a Wednesday interview with NPR, in which he said the legal team was looking for a "more diverse area that has a more balanced jury pool."

"You know, the country is very, very divided politically right now; this is a very divisive indictment. It goes to issues of free speech and political activity. So, we’re looking for a jury that will be more balanced. And West Virginia was a state that was more evenly divided," he added. "And we’re hoping for a jury that doesn’t come with any implicit or explicit bias or prejudice. So it makes sense to go to a place like West Virginia."

For what it is worth, The Hill pointed out that President Joe Biden won D.C. in 2020 with 92 percent of the vote, proving that the nation's capital is indeed overwhelmingly biased in favor of Democrats. That said, West Virginia, which Trump carried with more than 68 percent of the vote in 2020, is not exactly neutral ground either, as it is clearly more biased in favor of Republicans and the former president.

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