Bill Barr Says He Underestimated Trump’s Efforts to Overturn Election
- Former AG Bill Barr said he underestimated Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.
- “I mean, I thought it was a farce because there was no substance to it,” he told NBC.
- Barr’s new book about his time in the White House comes out on Tuesday.
Former Attorney General Bill Barr on Monday said that he underestimated how far former President Donald Trump would go to try to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
During an interview with NBC’s “Today” show, host Savannah Guthrie read a statement that Barr gave to the Chicago Tribune in September 2020 in which he said liberals are manufacturing a narrative that Trump may attempt to challenge the election results.
“You know liberals project. All this bullshit about how the president is going to stay in office and seize power?” Barr told the newspaper two months before the election. “They are projecting. They are creating an incendiary situation where there will be loss of confidence in the vote.”
Guthrie then asked Barr: “Did you underestimate the length that the president was willing to go to?”
“Yes,” Barr replied. “Well, I was surprised. I mean, I thought it was a farce because there was no substance to it. There was no legal support for it.”
Barr’s comments come ahead of the release of his new book on Tuesday, “One Damn Thing After Another: Memoirs of an Attorney General,” which captures his time in the Trump White House.
In his book, Barr wrote that he felt “Trump had taken a dangerous turn since the election,” Guthrie said on Monday. At the time, Trump and his close allies launched dozens of unsuccessful legal efforts to overturn the results in several battleground states.
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Barr resigned on December 14, the same day the Electoral College voted to cement Biden’s victory.
“The election was over for all intents and purposes. The idea that something could be done later on January 6 was nonsense,” Barr told Guthrie. “Once the election was locked in on December 14, I tendered my resignation. And I knew Trump was going to be leaving office.”
Trump, in his announcement of Barr’s resignation, said their “relationship has been a very good one.”
Yet their relationship fell apart in the aftermath of the January 6 Capitol riot, after which Barr slammed Trump for “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress” to throw out the Electoral College votes. Trump has since repeatedly criticized Barr.
“I think that the aim was to pressure Congress and to pressure the vice president,” Barr told Guthrie on Monday. “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 of government.”
The House last year voted to impeach Trump on a charge of “incitement of insurrection” but the Senate voted to acquit him. Barr told NBC News’ Lester Holt in an interview on Sunday night that he does not believe Trump is “legally responsible” for January 6 “in terms of incitement,” only that he was broadly responsible for gathering his supporters to pressure Congress.
Barr told Guthrie he would vote for Trump in 2024 if the former president is the GOP’s presidential nominee.