William Barr Says He Told Trump Election Fraud Claims Were 'Bulls**t'

The former attorney general, who indulged Trump's demands for an investigation, says he never believed the claims.

Former Attorney General William Barr, who stuck by Donald Trump at the beginning of his mission to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory, is now saying he told the former president that his election fraud claims were “bullshit.”

Barr made the remarks in an interview with NBC News, which released segments of the conversation Thursday ahead of its broadcast scheduled for Sunday night. It’s his first television interview since he stepped down from his role in December 2020.

“I told him that all this stuff was bullshit about election fraud,” Barr told NBC News’ Lester Holt of his discussions with Trump. “And, you know, it was wrong to be shoveling it out the way his team was. And he started asking me about different theories, and I had the answers. I was able to tell him, ‘This is wrong because of this.’”

Barr said their disagreement led to him offering his resignation, to which an angry Trump slapped the desk and replied, “Accepted. Go home. Don’t go back to your office. Go home. You’re done.”

In the weeks before that, however, Barr appeared as an ally to Trump, who began asserting shortly after his election loss that there was widespread voter fraud and a conspiracy to steal the election from him. Barr said nothing publicly to contradict Trump, and a week after the election, he gave prosecutors the go-ahead to “pursue substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities.”

That marked a stunning departure from the long-standing Justice Department policy of not investigating voter fraud allegations until after an election is certified, meant to ensure that the department stays out of election disputes and focuses on prosecuting crimes.

But last summer, Barr said he never believed Trump’s claims had any merit, and that if he investigated them, he could tell him definitively there was no evidence to support the conspiracy theory.

“My attitude was: It was put-up or shut-up time,” Barr told The Atlantic at the time. “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.”

A month after the election, Barr declared that the Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread voter fraud. He announced his resignation two weeks later.

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