In an interview published Sunday, former Attorney General William Barr bashed former President Donald Trump’s efforts to spread misinformation about the 2020 election, calling Trump’s lies about voter fraud “bullshit.”
Barr, speaking to ABC News’ Jonathan Karl for The Atlantic, opened up about his final few months working under Trump, when the president pushed the Justice Department to investigate baseless allegations of election fraud in an attempt to overturn Joe Biden’s legitimate victory.
Barr said he gave DOJ the green light to investigate “substantial allegations” of voter irregularities a week after the election, and also began his own unofficial inquiry into Trump’s claims. But he found the allegations being peddled by Trump and his allies to be unfounded, he told Karl.
“My attitude was: It was put-up or shut-up time,” Barr said. “If there was evidence of fraud, I had no motive to suppress it. But my suspicion all the way along was that there was nothing there. It was all bullshit.”
Barr has been viewed as deeply loyal to Trump before the election, often criticizing what he called partisan attacks on the president and defending his criminal justice record. But Trump’s efforts to overturn the election appeared to shift his allegiance.
“We realized from the beginning it was just bullshit,” Barr said of Trump’s claims that voting machines nationwide were switching Trump votes to Biden votes.
He told Karl that even if the machines had somehow changed the tally, the issue would be made obvious when the votes were recounted by hand.
“It’s a counting machine, and they save everything that was counted,” Barr said. “So you just reconcile the two. There had been no discrepancy reported anywhere, and I’m still not aware of any discrepancy.”
Barr resigned as attorney general in December after a bombshell interview with The Associated Press in which he publicly pushed back against Trump’s election fraud claims for the first time. Trump, Karl reported, was furious with Barr for making such a statement.
Trump’s “big lie” of a so-called stolen election fueled the deadly insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. There’s no evidence of any widespread fraud that would have changed the outcome of the election, though Trump has continued to claim Biden’s win was illegitimate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday announced she would create a new committee to investigate the Capitol riot, including its origins and the federal response to it.
Read Barr’s full interview with Karl in The Atlantic.