US attorney general William Barr, who has served as president Donald Trump’s right-hand man and protector, waited nearly an entire month after the 2020 presidential election to publicly state the obvious: Trump doesn’t have evidence for his conspiracy theories about widespread voter fraud.
“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election,” Barr told The Associated Press on Tuesday, adding that most claims of fraud were “not systemic allegations” and that any allegations were run down.
Multiple key officials have said the same. But Barr’s admission is striking because he’s one of the Trump officials who promoted fear about election fraud in the first place. In the lead-up to the election, Barr and Trump-appointed US attorneys across the country told the public they were keeping a close eye out for voter fraud.
Election Day 2020 went pretty smoothly overall, especially amid a global pandemic. Barr was looking for fraud, and he didn’t find it.
He did, however, wait nearly a month after Election Day to state he hadn’t found widespread fraud. During that time, Trump and his supporters like Rudy Giuliani have kept spreading increasingly unhinged conspiracy theories about mass voter fraud, insisting that Trump actually won in a landslide. Trump and his team have continued floating conspiracy theories even as former and current law enforcement officials warned that they posed a public safety threat. Barr, the top law enforcement official in the country, stayed quiet even as these dangerous theories spread.
After Barr’s comments to the AP, what remains of the Trump campaign quickly went on the attack. Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, a Trump campaign senior legal adviser, said Barr’s opinion “appears to be without any knowledge or investigation of the substantial irregularities and evidence of systemic fraud”.
The allegations that have been emerging from the Trump camp fall apart under the...