Former Attorney General Bill Barr is pouring more cold water on his old boss’ 2020 election fraud claims on Monday morning in his first television interview since leaving the Trump administration at the end of December 2020.
The ex-law enforcement official said there was ‘simply no evidence’ the last presidential race was ‘stolen’ from Donald Trump — though he left the door open to voting for him again should Trump run in 2024.
Barr’s White House memoir, One Damn Thing After Another, is due out on March 8. In the lead-up to its release, excerpts show the ex-attorney general taking clear and direct aim at Trump, claiming he went ‘off the rails’ after the 2020 election and ascribing him responsibility for the January 6 Capitol attack.
NBC Today host Savannah Guthrie asked him on Monday, ‘Once and for all, did the president lose the election or was it stolen or rigged by massive fraud?’
‘Stolen and rigged are two different things, but there was no stealing of the election through fraud. Which means, you know, that people who were not qualified to vote or didn’t exist, their votes were counted, or good votes were subtracted. The votes reflected the decision of the people,’ Barr said.
‘There simply was no evidence of that.’
Barr said the purported ‘evidence’ that Trump’s attorneys were pushing immediately after Biden’s victory were ‘nonsense’ and ‘just false,’ point out that ‘no evidence has come out since then.’
He continued, ‘You look at the vote, the actual vote, and there’s no mystery as to why he lost. He lost for the reason he was told for a whole year he was going to lose. Which is, he alienated Independent and Republican voters in the suburbs. That’s why he lost.’
Barr joined NBC for his first live television interview since leaving the Trump White House after his pre-recorded interview with the same network aired on Sunday night
Barr also admitted he underestimated Trump in the lead-up to the Capitol riot, claiming his ‘aim was to pressure Congress and to pressure the vice president.’
‘Regardless of whether laws were broken, regardless of that, it was a shameful thing, because one branch of government shouldn’t be trying to use a mob to pressure another branch,’ the former attorney general said.
However, he would not rule out voting for him in 2024 should Trump mount a re-election bid — claiming Democrats posed an even greater threat.
‘I’ve certainly made it clear, I don’t think he should be our nominee, and I’m going to support somebody else for the nominee,’ Barr began.
But, he added, ‘because I believe the greatest threat for the country is the progressive agenda pushed by the Democratic Party, it is inconceivable to me that I wouldn’t vote for the Republican nominee.’
Guthrie pushed him, ‘So, even if he lied about the election and threatened democracy, as you write in your book, better than a Democrat?’
‘It’s hard to project what the facts are going to turn out to be three years hence. But as of now, it’s hard to conceive I wouldn’t vote for the Republican nominee.’
Elsewhere in the interview Guthrie pressed Barr on the wide gap between his public and private concerns about Trump. In his book, Barr writes that he felt Trump took a ‘dangerous turn’ after the 2020 election. By contrast his resignation letter shared praise for Trump’s ‘historic’ accomplishments on the way out the door.
Barr said Trump’s conduct surrounding the Capitol riot was ‘shameful’ and feared he was ‘in a dangerous way’ after the 2020 election, but still said he would vote for Trump if he were the Republican nominee because he thought Democrats and Joe Biden’s progressive agenda are ‘the greatest threat to the country’
He repeatedly dodged the question, explaining: ‘I said he was acting in a dangerous way because he — you know, he was not listening to advice from his advisors. And in the past, you could keep things on track and now I felt he was sort of off the rails.’
It’s his second interview with an NBC host after a lengthy pre-taped sit-down with Lester Holt, which apparently reached out to Trump for comment on Barr’s interview.
Trump trashed Barr in a three-page letter released on Monday morning, claiming he fired the Justice Department official because he had ‘no backbone.’
The letter, dated March 2 and obtained by Axios, was sent to NBC’s New York City headquarters. In it are a series of questions followed by lengthy answers from Trump.
He said of Barr’s upcoming book, ‘I would imagine that if the book is anything like him, it will be long, slow, and very boring.’
It was typed out addressed to ‘Mr. Holt’ but it appears the ex-president opted for a more personal touch by crossing that out and writing in ‘Lester’ by hand.
In his Monday morning interview Barr dismissed Trump’s letter as ‘childish.’
‘It’s par for the course,’ he replied when asked for his reaction.
‘The president is a man who, when he’s told something he doesn’t want to hear, he immediately throws a tantrum and attacks the person personally. So I thought the letter was — was childish.’
Trump sent a letter dated March 2 addressed to NBC News headquarters in New York City, which appears to respond to claims made by Bill Barr in his lengthy Sunday night NBC interview with anchor Lester Holt
The former Justice Department official condemned the ex-president’s 2020 election fraud claims and his role in last year’s Capitol riot, both in his book and televised interview.
‘Bill Barr cares more about being accepted by the corrupt Washington Media and Elite than serving the American people. He was slow, lethargic, and I realized early on that he never had what it takes to make a great Attorney General,’ Trump’s letter began.
‘When the Radical Left Democrats threatened to hold him in contempt and even worse, to Impeach him, he became virtually worthless fo Law and Order and Election Integrity. They broke him just like a trainer breaks a horse.’
Trump also said Barr’s dismissal of his 2020 election fraud claims was a ‘virtual joke.’
To support this he supposedly attached a report pointing to ‘widespread corruption’ in at least one swing state’s election count, which was not included in Monday’s report of the letter and did not seem to be picked up by by NBC.
The former president accused Barr of now ‘groveling to the media, hoping to gain acceptance that he doesn’t deserve.’
During his NBC interview Barr claimed he was ‘livid’ when he found out Trump had told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during their infamous 2019 phone call that the attorney general would reach out to him regarding Trump’s political rivals.
He told Holt that Trump ‘never really had a good idea of, you know, the role of the Department of Justice [and] to some extent, you know, the president’s role.’
Trump appeared to hit back at the assertion in the new letter, claiming what he asked of Barr had ‘nothing to do’ with his personal issues.
Barr told NBC’s Holt that he does not believe Trump understands how the Justice Department works and that he was ‘livid’ upon finding out his former boss indicated Barr’s department should investigate Trump’s political rivals
‘As President of the United States, I am the Chief Executive, who is responsible for the Department heads, which includes the Attorney General. When I saw that the Department of Justice was not doing their job, I have every legal right to ask them todo so, in accordance with the law and the Constitution. That has nothing to do with my personal legal interests,’ the ex-president said.
‘With respect to prosecuting political rivals, it was just the opposite. Despite the many crimes committed by the Biden family, I did not push Barr to go after them. While the things done were legendarily corrupt,I thought it would be inappropriate for me to get personally involved.’
In his forthcoming book, Barr claims he shouted down Trump’s attempt at discussing President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who at the time was under a federal investigation over his foreign business dealings.
He also details one final, explosive confrontation with Trump in which the former president told Barr he ‘must hate Trump’ because he publicly dismissed the notion of widespread election fraud shortly after Biden won the White House.
Barr claims in his book that Trump told him to go home immediately in response to Barr offering to tender his resignation. He left the Justice Department at the end of December 2020.
Trump said Barr’s version of events were ‘incorrect and a total fabrication.’
Instead, the former president claimed he said: ‘If you didn’t see corruption in the Election, of which so much has already been revealed (and massive amounts up until this date), than(sic) you are not capable of being Attorney General. You don’t have the energy or backbone to stand up to the Radical Left. Please give me your Letter of Resignation.’
Barr responded to Trump’s letter in a live interview with NBC’s Today on Monday morning.
‘Stolen and rigged are two different things, but there was no stealing of the election through fraud,’ the ex-attorney general said again. ‘Which means that people who are not qualified to vote or don’t exist, their votes were counted, or good votes were subtracted.’
‘The votes reflected the decision of the people.’
The final question Trump addresses in his letter are Barr’s allegations surrounding the insurrection last year.
On Sunday night Barr said he holds Trump ‘morally responsible’ for the events of January 6, 2021, though conceded he would not have prosecuted his former boss for it.
‘I do think he was responsible in the broad sense of that word, in that it appears that part of the plan was to send this group up to the Hill,’ Barr said. ‘I think the whole idea was to intimidate Congress. And I think that that was wrong.’
Trump claimed there ‘would have been no “January 6″‘ if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Washington, DC mayor had agreed to more security at the Capitol that day.
‘They were not interested in having the troops in Washington because they didn’t “like the look.” If they had taken my offer, there would have been no “January 6” as we know it,’ Trump said.
He claimed, ‘I was President of the United States and was asked to make a speech on January 6. I went to the site, made my speech, and returned to the White House.’
‘Now the Witch Hunt continues with Shifty Adam Schiff, RINO Liz Cheney, and others on what I call the Unselect Committee. In the long run, the American people will win.’