Bill Barr Blasts Letitia James for Involving Trump Children in Lawsuit

Bill Barr Donald Trump Letitia James Lawsuit
Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr, left, is pictured at a Federalist Society event in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, while New York State Attorney General Letitia James, center, is shown at a press conference in New York City on Wednesday. Ex-President Donald Trump, right, is seen at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio, on Saturday. Barr accused James of overreach by including three of Trump's children in a $250 million lawsuit on Wednesday. Left: Win McNamee, Center: Michael M. Santiago, Right: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr has blasted New York State Attorney General Letitia James for involving the children of former President Donald Trump in a lawsuit.

James on Wednesday announced the filing of a new $250 million civil fraud lawsuit against Trump and three of his children—Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump. Barr, who resigned from the Trump administration amid attempts to overturn the 2020 election and has been at odds with the former president since, denounced James' lawsuit as a "political hit job" and an example of "abuse of office."

"It's hard for me not to conclude it's a political hit job," Barr said during a Fox News interview on Wednesday. "[James] is a woman who campaigned for office promising she was going to go after Trump, which I think is a tremendous abuse of office, to go headhunting and targeting individuals ... I think she was targeting Trump."

The suit seeks to remove Trump and his three children from their positions at the Trump Organization and permanently ban them from serving in any similar roles at different companies in New York. The Trumps would also be banned from overseeing any New York real estate acquisitions for five years.

James alleges that the former president made false and misleading financial statements that misrepresented his net worth. Barr argued that Trump's children would not have been involved in making any of the alleged false statements, while accusing James of overreaching her authority by naming them as defendants.

"I'm not sure she even has a good case against Trump himself," said Barr. "But what ultimately persuades me that this is a political hit job is she grossly overreaches when she tries to drag the children into this."

"This was [Trump's] personal financial statement," he continued. "The children aren't going to know the details of that. Nor are they expected, in the real world, to do their own due diligence and have it, you know, reviewed independently."

Barr said the lawsuit is an example of "Trump Derangement Syndrome," predicting it would make people "sympathetic" to the former president.

"This to me looks like gross overreach," he said. "Which I think is going to end up backfiring on them. Because I think it will make people sympathetic for Trump, that this is another example of people piling on because of Trump Derangement Syndrome—you know, this strong desire to punish him."

Newsweek has reached out to James' office for comment.

Allen Weisselberg—the Trump Organization's former chief financial officer—and Jeff McConney—another executive of the company—were also named as defendants in James' suit.

The New York attorney general accused Trump and his company of "knowingly and intentionally creating more than 200 false and misleading valuations of assets on his annual Statements of Financial Condition to defraud financial institutions" between 2011 and 2021.

"With the help of his children and senior executives at the Trump Organization, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and cheat the system," James said in a statement after the lawsuit was filed.

"In fact, the very foundation of his purported net worth is rooted in incredible fraud and illegality," she added. "Mr. Trump thought he could get away with the art of the steal, but today, that conduct ends."

Although the suit is a civil action, James has also referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for a criminal investigation.

Last month, Weisselberg pleaded guilty to 15 felonies, while admitting to conspiring with the Trump Organization to avoid taxes on corporate benefits.