“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election,” Barr said in an interview with the Associated Press.
Barr’s comments are significant in that he had previously shared some of President Donald Trump’s concerns over mail-in voting in the weeks before the election. And then, two days after major networks called the presidential race for Biden, Barr issued a directive to federal prosecutors to look into cases of alleged voting fraud. That generated concerns that Barr was breaking with Justice Department precedent to wait until after results are certified before pursuing such claims.
Trump has continued to insist that the election was stolen from him, even as his campaign and Republican allies have lost dozens of lawsuits in court. Last week, an appellate court in Pennsylvania rejected the latest challenge, with Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee, writing that “charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”
Through the afternoon, Trump retweeted clips from One America News Network, which has made a speciality of advancing false claims that the election was stolen from the president.
Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, who are leading the Trump campaign legal challenges, said in a statement, “With all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance of a Department of Justice investigation. We have gathered ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined. We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth.”
On Capitol Hill, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters, “In response to Attorney General Bill Barr, I guess he’s the next one to be fired since he now too says there’s no fraud.”
About an hour after the AP posted its story, reporters at the White House spotted the attorney general on the grounds. Fox News’ Kevin Corke reported that it was for a previously planned meeting and that he was not scheduled to meet with Trump.
In his interview, Barr appeared to dismiss one of the wilder conspiracy theories advanced by Trump and his allies, that voting machines were rigged to switch votes to Biden. Sidney Powell, who had been a member of the president’s legal team, claimed without evidence that the rigging was linked to Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan leader who died in 2013.
“There’s been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results,” Barr told the AP. “And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”
Trump’s claims of election fraud have been concerning to elections officials. In Georgia, Gabriel Sterling, a conservative and voting system implementation manager for the state, said at a press conference that Trump needed to “stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone is going to get hurt. Someone is going to get shot. Someone is going to get killed.”