Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr told President Donald Trump that his claims about widespread vote fraud in the 2020 election were “bulls**t” and that he was being lied to by his attorneys.
According to Axios, a left-leaning media outlet that has been highly critical of the Trump Administration, Barr dismissed claims of a stolen election during a meeting with the president Dec. 1 in the private dining room near the Oval Office.
“White House counsel Pat Cipollone and a few other aides in the room were shocked Barr had come out and said it — although they knew it was true. For good measure, the attorney general threw in a warning that the new legal team Trump was betting his future on was ‘clownish,’” Axios reported.
Ahead of the meeting, which included Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, The Associated Press had published a story containing comments from Barr in which he said the Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread vote fraud.
Barr’s comments angered Trump, Axios claimed.
“Why would you say such a thing? You must hate Trump. There’s no other reason for it. You must hate Trump,” the outlet quoted the president as saying.
“These things aren’t panning out,” Barr reportedly said in response. “The stuff that these people are filling your ear with just isn’t true.”
He added that if the president wanted to contest election results, his own lawyers would have to do so, Axios reported. But, Barr continued, the Justice Department had already looked at allegations of fraud.
“It’s just bulls**t,” he told Trump, adding that his outside legal team was not doing a very good job on the president’s behalf.
A few weeks later, Barr handed in his resignation, though his letter expressed effusive praise for the president’s accomplishments. Axios claimed that Barr left before their disagreements “spilled into public view.”
The report noted that Cipollone and others in the room were taken aback at Barr’s directness regarding the fraud accusations, even though they agreed with the AG.
“I’m a pretty informed legal observer and I can’t f***ing figure out what the theory is here,” Barr reportedly said in reference to the claims made by his legal team. “It’s just scattershot. It’s all over the hill and gone.”
“Maybe,” Trump reportedly said in response. “Maybe.”
Barr, who resigned three weeks after the AP report, was among President Trump’s better appointments, many of his supporters believe. But he was also criticized in the months before his departure after the special prosecutor he appointed to investigate the origins of the Russian collusion investigation, John Durham, had only produced one minor indictment — and no report ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
Since leaving his post, however, Barr has also been critical of Trump, blaming him for inciting the Capitol Building riot.
“Orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable. The president’s conduct yesterday was a betrayal of his office and supporters,” Barr said in comments posted to Twitter by CBS News correspondent Catherine Herridge.
As for Trump’s legal team, they have also been criticized by notable conservative voices including Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and top radio talker Rush Limbaugh.
“They promised blockbuster stuff, and then nothing happened,” Limbaugh said on his program following a late November press conference the legal team held.
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