Attorney General Bill Barr on Wednesday shared an absurd response when pressed on why he’s floated the baseless assertion of foreign countries potentially producing and sending out fake mail-in ballots in the November election, during an interview on CNN.
In an interview published in the New York Times Magazine in June, Barr said that he’s concerned about foreign influence as states have expanded access to mail-in voting in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve been talking about how, in terms of foreign influence, there are a number of foreign countries that could easily make counterfeit ballots, put names on them, send them in,” Barr told NYT Magazine, without providing evidence behind his claim. “And it’d be very hard to sort out what’s happening.”
Barr echoed similar remarks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in late July. Barr said that although he had “no reason to think” that the November election will be “rigged,” he believes that “if you have wholesale mail-in voting, it substantially increases the risk of fraud.”
During the hearing, Barr said that although there is no evidence that shows foreign countries could successfully influence elections in the U.S. with fraudulent ballots, it would be “common sense” for them to attempt to do so.
On Wednesday evening, Barr found himself in a head-scratching exchange with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer as he attempted to explain the rationale behind his baseless assertion, which bolsters President Trump’s false claims that mail-in voting leads to voter fraud.
“As I’ve said repeatedly, I’m basing that on logic,” Barr said, which prompted Blitzer to ask, “pardon?”
Barr insisted again that “logic” informed his baseless assertion, before Blitzer asked whether he has seen any evidence that a foreign country is trying to interfere in the November election by producing and sending out counterfeit ballots.
“No, I’m saying people are concerned about foreign influence,” Barr said, adding that sending ballots to voters “leaves open the possibility” of ballots being of counterfeited domestically or abroad.
Pressed on whether he believes that a foreign country could do that, Barr replied that “anyone can do that” before conceding again that he has not seen evidence of foreign countries attempting to send out fake ballots.
“No, but most things can be counterfeited,” Barr said. “But that’s why we go to the trouble of making our money the way we make it.”
Barr then posed a baffling rhetorical question on whether Minnesota should print money on regular parchment paper, before Blitzer pointed out that intelligence officials have not seen information or intelligence that foreign countries are planning to produce or send out fake ballots.
Barr reiterated that he does not have any information supporting his baseless assertion. The attorney general went on to say that he’s unsure about the exact number of indictments the Justice Department has brought against people committing voter fraud.
“I don’t know how many we have,” Barr said. “I know there are a number of investigations right now, some very big ones in states.”
Watch Barr’s remarks below:
Attorney General Bill Barr says he's basing his assertion that foreign countries could send thousands of fake ballots on "logic" pic.twitter.com/hO8HexuI47
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) September 2, 2020