Former Attorney General Bill Barr reportedly knew former President Trump’s claims of election fraud were “bullshit,” but gave the green light for prosecutors to investigate the unsubstantiated claims because he wanted to appease the then-President who refused to concede the election.
Barr’s dismissal of Trump’s election fraud falsehoods was reported in an excerpt of the book “Betrayal” by ABC News reporter Jon Karl published in The Atlantic on Sunday.
The week after the 2020 presidential election in November, Barr permitted prosecutors to investigate “substantial allegations” of vote irregularities that “could potentially impact the outcome” of the election. At the time, the then-attorney general gave no indication publicly that he broke with Trump on his bogus claims of widespread election fraud.
Barr, however, revealed to Karl that he had already suspected that evidence that would overturn the election results was a long shot. According to Karl, Barr expected Trump to lose the election to Biden and was unfazed when his expectation came true.
Barr also anticipated that Trump would confront him about the unsubstantiated claims of election fraud, and wanted to tell the then-President that he had investigated them and found no evidence to back up the falsehoods.
“My attitude was: It was put-up or shut-up time,” Barr told Karl. “If there was evidence of fraud, I had no motive to suppress it.”
Barr claimed that he suspected all along that Trump’s election fraud falsehoods were “all bullshit.”
The former attorney general also debunked false claims by Trump and his allies that voting machines nationwide switched votes from Trump to Biden.
“We realized from the beginning it was just bullshit,” Barr told Karl. “It’s a counting machine, and they save everything that was counted. So you just reconcile the two. There had been no discrepancy reported anywhere, and I’m still not aware of any discrepancy.”
Barr also recalled then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) repeatedly demanding him to publicly push back against Trump’s bogus claims. McConnell reportedly argued that the fraud falsehoods Trump espoused were damaging to the country and hurt the GOP’s chances of winning the two Georgia Senate runoff races in January that would determine the balance of the Senate.
Karl reported that McConnell confirmed his exchange with Barr.
“Look, we need the president in Georgia,” McConnell told Barr, according to Karl. “And so we cannot be frontally attacking him right now. But you’re in a better position to inject some reality into this situation. You are really the only one who can do it.”
“I understand that,” Barr told McConnell, according to Karl. “And I’m going to do it at the appropriate time.”