White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Wednesday predictably deployed the Trumpian tactic of deflection when pressed on whether President Trump maintains confidence in Attorney General Bill Barr after he told the Associated Press that the Justice Department has not uncovered evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
After nonsensically touting to reporters during a White House briefing on Wednesday that Trump has “active cases in Nevada and Wisconsin,” despite his lawsuits contesting the legitimacy of the election fizzling out, McEnany was asked whether Trump still has confidence in Barr following his remarks to the AP that failed to back the sitting president’s falsehoods.
Unsurprisingly, McEnany dodged.
“The President, if he has any personnel announcement, you will be the first to know it,” McEnany said.
When asked about whether Trump has spoken to Barr since the attorney general’s remarks to the AP were published Tuesday, McEnany claimed she is “not aware if they’ve spoken,” despite how Barr “discussed an array of issues” with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows during a “preplanned meeting” Tuesday.
Later in the briefing, McEnany maintained that she is unaware of Trump and Barr having spoken to each other following the attorney general’s remarks to the AP.
McEnany then pointed to a statement issued by a Justice Department official on Tuesday evening that insinuated false reporting by the media on Barr’s remarks to the AP, which the President gleefully retweeted on Tuesday night.
The Fake News refuses to report this! https://t.co/OvsdLJQL4u
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2020
Pressed again on the discrepancy between members of the Trump campaign baselessly insisting that there is evidence of widespread voter fraud while Barr couldn’t back the Trumpworld’s bogus claims, McEnany brushed off the question by punting to the sitting president’s re-election campaign.
“The attorney general was speaking to what had come before his desk. Again, pointing to the campaign for specific questions on this,” McEnany said. “But I would just say generally they are pursuing civil litigation, which in fact the attorney general explicitly said some of this is meant more for civil litigation, which is what the campaign is currently pursuing.”
Hours after the AP reported on Barr’s remarks, Axios reported that Trump is actively considering firing Barr and replacing him with somebody more willing to do his bidding.
Barr also told the AP that he’d appointed John Durham, a veteran prosecutor, as special counsel last October to continue probing the origins of the FBI’s 2016 investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Axios reported that Barr’s designation of Durham as special counsel is viewed as a stall tactic in the eyes of Trump’s allies.
Trump has a history of ousting — or at least considering the ouster — of administration officials who issue public remarks that are at odds with his baseless assertions.
Last month, Trump fired Chris Krebs, who led the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity arm, after he publicly debunked the sitting president’s conspiracy theories challenging the legitimacy of the election process.
FBI Director Chris Wray has been rumored to be one of the first heads on the President’s post-election chopping block. Wray refused to endorse Trump’s bogus claims about voter fraud and acknowledged that far-right white nationalist-motivated violence is a national security threat to the country.
Watch McEnany’s remarks below:
.@kwelkernbc: "Does he faith in Attorney General Bill Barr. Does he still have confidence in Bill Barr?"@PressSec: "The president, if he has any personnel announcements you will be the first to know it."
— CSPAN (@cspan) December 2, 2020