'Cowardly and destructive': Bill Barr blasted for post-resignation silence over Donald Trump's election lies
Testifying before the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, former United States Attorney General Bill said that his repeated attempts to convince former President Donald Trump that he lost the 2020 election were fruitless. The footage of Barr's interview with congressional investigators was shown on Monday morning, during the second of six public hearings.
"When I walked in, sat down, he went off on a monologue saying that there was now definitive evidence involving fraud through the Dominion machines and a report had been prepared by a very reputable cyber-security firm which he identified as Allied Security Operations Group and he held up the report. And then he asked that a copy of it be made for me. And while a copy was being made, he said, 'you know, this is absolute proof that the Dominion Machines were rigged. The report means that I'm going to have a second term,'" Barr recalled.
"And then he gave me a copy of the report, and as he talked more and more about it, I sat there flipping through the report and looking through it. And to be frank, it looked very amateurish to me. It didn't have the credentials of the people involved but I didn't see any real qualifications. And the statements were made very conclusory, like, 'these machines were designed to engage in fraud' or something to that effect. But I didn't see any supporting information for it," Barr continued.
"And I was somewhat demoralized because I thought, 'boy, if he really believes this stuff, he has, you know, lost contact with, he's become detached from reality, if he really believes this stuff,'" Barr explained. "On the other hand, when I went into this, and would, you know, tell him how crazy some of these allegations were, there was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were," Barr chuckled awkwardly. "My opinion then, and my opinion now, is that the election was not stolen by fraud."
Watch below via CBS News:
\u201cFormer Attorney General William Barr testifies it was always his opinion that the 2020 election was not stolen. \n\n"I thought, 'If he really believes this stuff, he has lost contact, he's become detached from reality" Barr says.\u201d— CBS News (@CBS News) 1655136580
Barr resigned from his post on December 15th, 2020 as rumors swirled about Trump's desire to fire him over his refusal to endorse Trump's election conspiracy theories.
But for many observers, Barr's decision to quit and maintain a post-tenure low profile provided additional opportunities for Trump's lies to fester.
"Barr's testimony makes his silence and his resignation letter all the more cowardly and destructive," MSNBC host Chris Hayes tweeted.
\u201cBarr's testimony makes his silence and his resignation letter all the more cowardly and destructive.\u201d— Chris Hayes (@Chris Hayes) 1655134855
New York Times Justice Department reporter Katie Benner concurred with and expanded upon Hayes' perspective.
"Only in private did Barr bluntly call Trump's fraud claims absurd," Benner wrote. "He never let the public know his feeling that Trump was 'detached from reality.' He publicly lauded Trump when he resigned and said this year that he would vote for Trump again."
\u201cOnly in private did Barr bluntly call Trump's fraud claims absurd. He never let the public know his feeling that Trump was \u201cdetached from reality." He publicly lauded Trump when he resigned and said this year that he would vote for Trump again.\nhttps://t.co/L4yqZLg9ef\u201d— Katie Benner (@Katie Benner) 1655137068
CNN political analyst Ana Navarro-Cárdenas, an ex-Republican strategist, remarked that "it’s simply amazing how many people around Trump, including Barr, other Cabinet Secretaries, and Senior White House staff, knew Trump was completely off-his rocker, paranoid, delusional and making insane claims, putting the country in danger AND they didn’t invoke 25th Amendment."
\u201cIt\u2019s simply amazing how many people around Trump, including Barr, other Cabinet Secretaries, and Senior White House staff, knew Trump was completely off-his rocker, paranoid, delusional and making insane claims, putting the country in danger AND they didn\u2019t invoke 25th Amendment.\u201d— Ana Navarro-C\u00e1rdenas (@Ana Navarro-C\u00e1rdenas) 1655135857
Former Congressman and Never Trumper Joe Walsh (R-Illinois), who left the GOP on February 7th, 2020, noted that "in sworn testimony, Bill Barr is describing a President who purposely lied about the election, refused to accept the will of the people, and incited January 6th. But know this: Bill Barr has also said repeatedly that he will vote for Trump in 2024 if Trump is the GOP nominee."
\u201cIn sworn testimony, Bill Barr is describing a President who purposely lied about the election, refused to accept the will of the people, and incited January 6th. \n\nBut know this: Bill Barr has also said repeatedly that he will vote for Trump in 2024 if Trump is the GOP nominee.\u201d— Joe Walsh (@Joe Walsh) 1655135167
Likewise, progressive podcaster Andrew Wortman said that "as devastating as Barr’s testimony is for Trump, it is equally devastating to Barr himself, who clearly knew Trump had become completely impervious to reason, completely detached from reality, but said none of this in his resignation letter or public statements."
\u201cAs devastating as Barr\u2019s testimony is for Trump, it is equally devastating to Barr himself, who clearly knew Trump had become completely impervious to reason, completely detached from reality, but said none of this in his resignation letter or public statements.\u201d— Andrew Wortman \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@Andrew Wortman \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1655137029
That was echoed by author Brian Karem.
"Bill Barr is no better than Donald Trump - he's just better at covering his own ass," he said. "On that' he's a better Trump than Trump."
\u201cBill Barr is no better than Donald Trump - he's just better at covering his own ass. \n\nOn that' he's a better Trump than Trump.\u201d— Brian J. Karem (@Brian J. Karem) 1655141808
CNN's Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins opined that it was "remarkable to watch Barr's testimony, including how he thought Trump was becoming 'detached from reality,' and compare that with his resignation letter from December, where he said he was honored to serve in the admin & proud of Trump's successes." Collins also attached a snippet of Barr's resignation letter in which he praised Trump.
\u201cRemarkable to watch Barr's testimony, including how he thought Trump was becoming "detached from reality," and compare that with his resignation letter from December, where he said he was honored to serve in the admin & proud of Trump's successes. What he said about the election:\u201d— Kaitlan Collins (@Kaitlan Collins) 1655139267
Similar sentiment continued to flood Twitter after the conclusion of Monday's hearing.
\u201cAnd all it took for Bill Barr to throw Trump under the bus was 17 months and a book release.\u201d— John Fugelsang (@John Fugelsang) 1655135809
\u201cBarr appears to be criticizing Trump but, in my opinion, he is laying out Trump's legal defense. \n\nThe claim that Trump "really believes" the 2020 election was stolen could protect Trump from criminal liability because it undercuts criminal intent.\u201d— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum) 1655141942
\u201cBarr was trying to save his own hide by resigning. Even when he left he was still praising Trump, while privately he knew Trump was \u201cdetached from reality.\u201d\u201d— Barbara Malmet (@Barbara Malmet) 1655140117
\u201cThe gap between what Barr was testifying to, that Trump embraced conspiracy theories were \u201ccomplete nonsense\u201d and his previous public statements in which said he would vote for Trump again, is as wide as the Grand Canyon. He knew Trump was \u201cdetached from reality\u201d & said NADA.\u201d— Barbara Malmet (@Barbara Malmet) 1655142451
\u201cEven MAGA criminal underboss William Barr knew the big lie was total bullshit.\n\nAnd yet he resigned, said nothing and even helped spread that lie for as long as he could. He doesn\u2019t deserve any credit for telling truth. He\u2019s the worst most corrupt Attorney General in history.\u201d— Ricky Davila \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08 (@Ricky Davila \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08) 1655139473
\u201cBill Stepien is *still* working for the Trump-endorsed Big Lie candidate running against Liz Cheney.\n\nBill Barr said he\u2019d *still* vote for Trump in 2024 despite being \u201cdetached from reality.\u201d\n\nThe Republican Party is lying and they know they\u2019re lying.\u201d— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen) 1655142495
\u201cListening to former AG Barr's deposition testimony at Jan 6 hearing as he sits flanked by his legal team that includes Noel Francisco Trump's former Solicitor General who defended racist ban on Muslim travelers I am reminded of his never failing ability to cover his own butt.\u201d— Shanlon Wu (@Shanlon Wu) 1655137272
\u201c@CBSNews \u201cSo I quit when I could have done something legally to protect my country. \u201c\u201d— CBS News (@CBS News) 1655136580
\u201cBill Barr is absolutely destroying Trump. Too bad he didn't do his job when he was A.G. starting with the Mueller Report.\u201d— Henry M. Rosenberg (@Henry M. Rosenberg) 1655135437
\u201cyour reminder that all of these people knew that Donald Trump was a fucking lunatic and not one them of thought it important to tell the American people\u201d— Jeff Tiedrich (@Jeff Tiedrich) 1655137689
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