Attorney Tim Parlator, who last month resigned from the legal team representing Donald Trump in the Justice Department’s classified documents investigation, said Sunday that he would not be surprised if the former president ultimately does not face charges.
“No, not at all,” Parlator said on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”
He said the case creates complications for prosecutors, who will have to weigh whether to declassify certain documents to bring charges against Trump.
“There are a lot of additional issues or procedures that you have to go through with this type of case,” Parlatore added. “And especially when it’s politically sensitive.”
Parlatore’s assessment contradicts other legal experts who have said it is highly likely Trump will face criminal charges when special counsel Jack Smith concludes his investigation.
Smith is investigating whether Trump broke the law with regard to classified documents and whether he obstructed government efforts to retrieve the files after he left the White House. Trump has denied wrongdoing.
“We have to watch the indictment,” former U.S. Attorney Glenn Kirchner told MSNBC’s Jen Psaki.
Parlatore compared the Trump case to 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 they say he did,” Parlator said, Trump should not be indicted for the same reasons he believed Clinton was right not to face criminal charges in 2016.
“I was of the opinion that Hillary Clinton should not be prosecuted because she has all these other problems,” he said. “The ranking is not binding on the jury. You actually have to take those documents, show them to the jury, and then prove to them that it constitutes national defense information.
The FBI exonerated Clinton in the summer of 2016, but then-Director James Comey reopened the investigation before the presidential election because of additional emails he said were uncovered in a separate investigation. Just days before the election, Comey told Congress that the FBI’s review of those emails did not change the agency’s earlier conclusion that the then-Democratic presidential candidate was not criminally responsible.
Comey was accused of contributing to Trump’s narrow victory in that election.
Parlatore’s meeting with Chuck Todd comes as the federal grand jury in the documents case is set to reconvene this week, suggesting Smith is nearing the end of its investigation, according to NBC News.
Last week, CNN reported that prosecutors obtained a July 2021 recording 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 leaked files he took from the White House.
Parlator left Trump’s legal team last month, citing disagreements between various attorneys.
“The real reason is that there are certain individuals who have made protecting the president much more difficult than it should have been,” Parlatore told CNN at the time.