Trump hits Barr over voter fraud remarks: ‘He hasn’t looked’

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President Trump said Thursday he is disappointed in Attorney General William Barr for saying that the Justice Department had not uncovered evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

Trump pushed back on the comments Barr made in an interview with The Associated Press earlier this week that represented a break with the president’s own unsubstantiated claims about fraud in the election.

“He hasn’t done anything, so, he hasn’t looked. When he looks, he’ll see the kind of evidence that right now you are seeing in the Georgia Senate. They are going through hearings right now in Georgia and they are finding tremendous volumes,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “So, they haven’t looked very hard. Which is a disappointment, to be honest with you, because it’s massive fraud.”

The president also declined to offer a vote of confidence in Barr when asked.

“Ask me that in a number of weeks from now. They should be looking at all of this fraud,” he said. “This is not civil. He thought it was civil. This is not civil. This is criminal stuff. This is very bad criminal stuff.”

The president nor his legal team have not presented any evidence in court to back up their claims of fraud, and most of the lawsuits they have filed have been dismissed or denied.

The swing states where Trump has brought his complaints have certified their election results showing President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. And last week, the General Services Administration recognized Biden as the apparent winner of the election, allowing the transition process to formally begin.

Still, Trump continued to insist the election was “rigged” against him on Thursday and has refused to concede to Biden.

Trump made the comments to reporters during a ceremony in the Oval Office during which he awarded famed former football coach Lou Holtz the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Barr said in an interview with the AP published Tuesday that the Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the result of the presidential election.

Barr said that U.S. attorneys and the FBI had worked to follow up allegations of irregularities but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”

Trump’s campaign lawyers, Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, soon afterward issued a statement criticizing Barr’s remarks, but the president’s comments on Thursday represented his first on the matter.

“With the greatest respect to the Attorney General, his opinion appears to be without any knowledge or investigation of the substantial irregularities and evidence of systemic fraud,” Giuliani and Ellis said Tuesday.

But Barr also told the AP that people were wrongly implying that the federal criminal justice system should be used to resolve such issues, when allegations of voting irregularities should be made in civil lawsuits.

“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all,” Barr said in the interview, noting that there must be a basis for potential criminal wrongdoing for the Justice Department to launch an investigation.

Barr, who issued a memo last month authorizing federal prosecutors to pursue any “substantial allegations” of fraud in the 2020 election, is among a growing number of conservatives who have broken with Trump over his claims about the election.

The break between Barr and Trump is especially significant, given that the attorney general has been seen as one of the president’s most reliable Cabinet members.

Barr traveled to the White House a short time after the interview was published in what officials described as a previously scheduled meeting with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Wednesday that she was not aware of whether Trump and Barr had spoken, though ABC News reported that the two met in what was described as an “intense” encounter when the attorney general was at the White House on Tuesday afternoon.

–Updated at 1:28 p.m.

Tags 2020 2020 election Bill Barr Donald Trump Joe Biden Lou Holtz Mark Meadows Presidential Medal of Freedom Rudy Giuliani voter fraud William Barr

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