Former Attorney General Bill Barr has been highly critical of former President Trump’s conduct in the classified documents case, but doesn’t believe Trump should go to prison for the alleged crimes. 

“I don’t like the idea of a former president serving time in prison,”  Barr told “Face the Nation” on Sunday when asked whether Trump should serve a prison sentence if he is convicted.

But Barr did not excuse the alleged crimes outlined by the Justice Department.

“This is not a circumstance where he’s the victim or this is government overreach,” Barr said. “He provoked this whole problem himself. Yes, he’s been the victim of unfair witch hunts in the past, but that doesn’t obviate the fact that he’s also a fundamentally flawed person who engages in reckless conduct that leads to situations, calamitous situations, like this, which are very disruptive and hurt any political cause he’s associated with.”

The former president is charged with 37 felony counts related to his alleged mishandling of classified documents after he left the White House. The indictment alleges Trump kept the classified documents in boxes stored at Mar-a-Lago, including in a bathroom and shower, a ballroom and his bedroom. The documents allegedly contained information on U.S. nuclear programs, potential vulnerabilities of the U.S. and its allies to a military attack and plans for potential retaliation in response to an attack.

Trump, who has pleaded not guilty to all the charges, is also alleged to have shown the classified documents to others who did not have a security clearance to be able to view them and also to have obstructed the National Archives and Records Administration and the Justice Department’s efforts to recover the documents.

Barr said he believes Trump lied to the Justice Department and said Republicans who have accused the department of acting politically in this case are wrong.

“The department had no choice but to seek those documents,” Barr said. “Their basic argument really isn’t to defend his conduct because Trump’s conduct is indefensible. What they’re really saying is, he should get a pass because Hillary Clinton got a pass six or seven years ago.”

“That’s not a frivolous argument. But I’m not sure that’s true,” Barr said. “I think if you want to restore the rule of law and equal justice, you don’t do it by further derogating from justice. You do it by applying the right standard here and that’s not unfair to Trump because this is not a case where Trump is innocent and being unfairly hounded. He committed the crime or if he did commit the crime, it’s not unfair to hold him to that standard.”

Trump and his allies have repeatedly compared his indictment to the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state. The FBI concluded that Clinton did not act with criminal content and she was not charged by the Justice Department.

In the last few days, as Barr has commented on the federal charges against Trump, the former has denounced his former attorney general as a “disgruntled former employee, a “very weak person,” “totally ineffective” and “very lazy.”

Barr said Sunday that Trump is like a “defiant 9-year-old kid who is always pushing the glass toward the edge of the table defying his parents to stop him from doing it.”

“He’s a very petty individual who will always put his interests ahead of the country’s,” Barr said. “But our country can’t be a therapy session for a troubled man like this.”

Special counsel Jack Smith is also investigating Trump’s conduct involving his actions surrounding the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Barr said he believes Trump is a target in that case and he expects charges to come this summer.

“I’ve always said, I think the Jan. 6 case will be a hard case to make because of First Amendment interest,” he said.

He also said he’s skeptical of the case against Trump in Fulton County, Georgia, where a grand jury recently wrapped up an investigation into the former president and his allies’ efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Barr said he expects Trump to be indicted there as well, although he thinks that case could be less sound due to First Amendment issues.

“We don’t want to get into a position where people can’t complain about an election,” Barr said. When reminded that Trump pushed the Georgia Secretary of State to “find” votes for him, Barr said there could be “innocent interpretations of what he said.”

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