During a segment on CNN this Tuesday, anchor Ana Cabrera brought up recent comments made by former Attorney General Bill Barr, who said he's hasn't yet seen the Jan. 6 committee offer up evidence of a prosecutable crime against Donald Trump. But former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst Shan Wu disagrees.
"I think we really need to emphasize from a prosecutorial point of view, being detached from reality is not a defense to any crime unless you want to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, which they can do," Wu said. "But the evidence is there and I don't think by excessive hand-wringing over whether there's really intent or not is necessary here. I think there's a lot of circumstantial evidence, and when I was a prosecutor, I would have been salivating about having this much evidence about a defendant's intent."
Appearing Monday in a pre-recorded deposition at a congressional hearing into the 2021 assault on the US Capitol, Barr described his then boss as having no interest in the facts that debunked his groundless narrative.
"I was demoralized because I thought, boy... he's become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff," Barr told the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection by supporters of Trump.
"When I went into this and would tell him how crazy some of these allegations were, there was never an indication of interest in the actual facts," said Barr, who likened addressing Trump's avalanche of false allegations with playing the game "whack-a-mole."
Later in the segment, Wu told CNN that the case where Trump told Georgia's Secretary of State to find more votes to bolster his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results is the strongest case against the former president. But he also thinks new revelations showing Trump raised over $250 million pushing debunked voter fraud allegations for an “official election defense fund” that the committee found did not exist is also a significant legal threat.
"I think that raises real exposure and danger for Trump and those who helped him to do that," Wu said. "And in particular, I think it's more dangerous because of the prosecutorial discretion aspect. That kind of a charge -- wire fraud, basically -- may be more palatable to prosecutors and DOJ and AG Garland than wading into these uncharted waters of charging a former president with trying to overthrow the very government he was in charge of."
The committee says the initial claim of fraud grew quickly into a fundraising campaign that raised millions between election night and the Capitol insurrection.
The committee's senior investigative counsel Amanda Wick said much of the cash was funneled into a political action committee that made donations to pro-Trump organizations.
"As early as April 2020, Mr Trump claimed that the only way he could lose an election would be as a result of fraud," Democratic panel member Zoe Lofgren said Monday.
"The big lie was also a big rip-off," she said, promising to show how the Trump campaign raised hundreds of millions of dollars from supporters who were falsely led to believe their donations would be used for the legal fight over fraud claims.
Watch the video below:
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With additional reporting by AFP
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