President Trump appeared to be “detached from reality” as he pursued unfounded claims of fraud following the November 2020 election, former Attorney General Barr said in a recorded deposition played by House investigators on June 13.
The testimony, given to the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol, was among a number of accounts given by former Trump administration officials and played on Monday. William Barr recounted how on December 14, 2020, Trump had urged the Justice Department to follow up on a report claiming that Dominion voting machines were “rigged.” Barr told the House committee that he was extremely skeptical of the report after being given a copy to review.
“I was somewhat demoralized, because I thought, ‘Boy, if he really believes this stuff, he has lost contact with … he has become detached from reality,’” said Barr, whose resignation was announced around that time.
Barr said that when he interacted with Trump and told him about “how crazy some of these allegations were,” the president never expressed “an indication of interest in what the actual facts were.”
Barr told investigators, “My opinion then and my opinion now is that the election was not stolen by fraud. I haven’t seen anything since the election that changes my mind on that.” Credit: January 6th Committee via Storyful
ZOE LOFGREN: Barr again told the president that there was nothing to these claims on December 14.
BILL BARR: 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 cybersecurity firm, which he identified as Allied Security Operations Group– and he held up the report– and he asked a copy of it be made for me.
And while a copy was being made, he said, this is absolute proof that the Dominion machines were rigged. The report means that I’m going to have a second term. 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.
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.
And I was somewhat demoralized because I thought, boy, if he really believes this stuff, he has lost contact with– he’s become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff.
On the other hand, you know, when I went into this and would tell him how crazy some of these allegations were there–
There was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were.
And my opinion then and my opinion now is that the election was not stolen by fraud. And I haven’t seen anything since the election that changes my mind on that, including the “2,000 Mules” movie.
ZOE LOFGREN: Well, maybe you can assess that “2,000 Mules” since people are talking about that.
BILL BARR: Well, I mean, just in a nutshell, I just think the GBI was unimpressed with it. And I was similarly unimpressed with it, because I think if it– because I was holding my fire on that to see what the photographic evidence was. Because I thought, well, hell, if they have a lot of photographs of the same person dumping a lot of ballots in different boxes, that’s hard to explain.
So I wanted to see what the photographic evidence was. But the cell phone data is singularly unimpressive. I mean, basically, if you take two million cell phones and figure out where they are physically in a big city like Atlanta or wherever, just by definition you’re going to find many hundreds of them have passed by and spent time in the vicinity of these boxes.
And the premise that if you go by five boxes or whatever, that’s a mule, is just indefensible. By definition, you’re going to have hundreds of this. I mean, I saw one contractor said, we figured out that our truck alone would account for six cell phone signals– this was some kind of contractor. And our route would take us by these things on a regular basis.
But then when the movie came out, you know, I think the photographic evidence in it was completely lacking– I mean, there was a little bit of it, but it was lacking. It didn’t establish widespread illegal harvesting.
The other thing people don’t understand is that it’s not clear that even if you can show harvesting, that changes the results of the election. Courts are not going to throw out votes and figure out what votes were harvested and throw them out. You’d still have the burden on the challenging party to show that illegal votes were cast– votes were the result of undue influence, or bribes, or the person was non compos mentis. But absent that evidence, I just didn’t see courts throwing out votes anyway.
I felt that before the election, it was possible to talk sense to the president. And while you sometimes had to engage in a big wrestling match with him and that it was possible to keep things on track, but I felt that after the election, he didn’t seem to be listening. And I didn’t think it was– that I was inclined not to stay around if he wasn’t listening to advice from me or his other cabinet secretaries.
ZOE LOFGREN: So on December 14, Barr quit.