A new book alleges that former Attorney General Bill Barr thought then-President Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud were “all bull****.”
According to The Hill, Barr’s comments came during a recent interview with journalist Jonathan Karl, the chief Washington correspondent for ABC News whose new book, Betrayal, is set to be released this November.
Excerpts of the upcoming book, which claims to break down the final days of the Trump administration, were published by The Atlantic on Sunday.
“There was nothing there”
In the Atlantic piece, Karl claims to have spoken not only with Barr, but also “with other senior officials in the Trump White House and Justice Department,” who he said “provided additional details about Barr’s actions and the former president’s explosive response.”
“My attitude was: It was put-up or shut-up time,” the former attorney general told Karl, alluding to the former president’s oft-repeated but never proven claims that the 2020 presidential race was tainted by voting irregularities.
“If there was evidence of fraud, I had no motive to suppress it,” Barr told Karl. “But my suspicion all the way along was that there was nothing there. It was all bull****.”
Notably, the then-AG was hesitant to come out publicly against Trump’s claims of election fraud, Karl said, even after urging from Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (KY). “But Barr told me he had already concluded that it was highly unlikely that evidence existed that would tip the scales in the election,” the journalist wrote for The Atlantic.
“He had expected Trump to lose and therefore was not surprised by the outcome,” Karl added. “[Barr] also knew that at some point, Trump was going to confront him about the allegations, and he wanted to be able to say that he had looked into them and that they were unfounded. So, in addition to giving prosecutors approval to open investigations into clear and credible allegations of substantial fraud, Barr began his own, unofficial inquiry into the major claims that the president and his allies were making.”
Barr eventually told the Associated Press that he’d uncovered no evidence of widespread fraud, a move that reportedly earned him the ire of then-President Trump.
“How the [expletive] could you do this to me? Why did you say it?” the former commander-in-chief is alleged to have told his attorney general in the final days of his presidency. “You must hate Trump. You must hate Trump.”
Despite the new report, Trump continued to argue that President Joe Biden’s November 2020 win was illegitimate at a rally in Ohio on Saturday, his first since leaving the White House.
“We won the election twice and it’s possible we’ll have to win it a third time,” Trump said, according to Reuters. “It’s possible.”