Attorney Tim Parlatore, who last month resigned from the legal team representing Donald Trump in the Justice Department’s classified documents investigation, on Sunday said he wouldn’t be surprised if the former president ultimately faced no charges.
“No, not at all,” Parlatore told NBC’s “Meet The Press.”
He said the case poses complications for prosecutors, who would have to weigh whether to declassify certain documents to press charges against Trump.
“There are a lot of additional problems or procedures that you have to go through with that type of a case,” Parlatore added. “And especially when it’s politically sensitive.”
Parlatore’s assessment contradicts other legal experts who have said Trump is very likely to face criminal charges when special counsel Jack Smith concludes his investigation.
Smith is looking into whether Trump broke the law in relation to classified documents, and whether he obstructed government efforts to retrieve the files after he left the White House. Trump has denied wrongdoing.
“We should be on indictment watch,” former prosecutor Glenn Kirschner told MSNBC’s Jen Psaki.
Parlatore compared the Trump case and the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for government business during her time as secretary of state.
“Even if he did a lot of the things that they’re saying that he did,” Parlatore said, Trump shouldn’t be charged for the same reasons he thought Clinton rightly didn’t face criminal charges in 2016.
“I was of the opinion that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be prosecuted, because there are all of these other problems,” he said. “Classification is not binding on the jury. You have to actually take these documents, show them to the jury, and then prove to them that it constitutes national defense information.”
The FBI exonerated Clinton during the summer of 2016, but then-Director James Comey reopened the probe ahead of the presidential election over additional emails he said were uncovered in a separate investigation. Just days before the election, Comey told Congress the FBI review of those emails did not change the agency’s earlier conclusion that the then-Democratic presidential nominee wasn’t criminally liable.
Comey has been accused of contributing to Trump’s narrow win in that election.
Parlatore’s sit-down with Chuck Todd comes as the federal grand jury in the documents case is set to reconvene this week, suggesting Smith is near the end of his investigation, according to NBC News.
Last week, CNN reported prosecutors had obtained a tape from July 2021 of Trump discussing a sensitive military document related to Iran, indicating he knew it was classified. The evidence could undermine the former president’s defense that he had declassified the files he took from the White House.
Parlatore departed Trump’s legal team last month, citing disagreements between the different lawyers.
“The real reason is because there are certain individuals that made defending the president much harder than it needed to be,” Parlatore told CNN at the time.