US election 2020

Who is William Barr and what has he said about the election fraud?

The Attorney General had been a supporter of Trump's claims pre-election but recent comments denied that he has seen any evidence of vote fraud that would affect the election result.

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Who is William Barr and what has he said about the election fraud?
POOL REUTERS

Attorney General William Barr has confirmed that the US Justice Department has found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020. Barr said in an interview with AP that: “To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”

Barr had been a vociferous supporter of the President in the build up to the election, sharing Trump’s repeated claims that mail-in voting could be susceptible to interference with a larger-than-normal proportion of the electorate opting against voting in person. With that in mind, to publically disprove Trump’s ongoing claims is a major embarrassment for the President.

What did William Barr say?

Barr was appointed Attorney General by Trump in 2019 and as head of the Department of Justice he plays a key role in the President’s ongoing attempts to overturn the result of the election. Barr has been a vital supporter of the President’s agenda but, after two more embarrassing legal defeats in Arizona and Wisconsin in recent days, has had little choice but to admit that the writing is on the wall for Trump.

Since the election, Trump’s legal team has made bizarre, baseless accusations of fraud, centred on electronic voting machines manufactured by Dominion. The President has claimed that they transferred votes from him to Joe Biden; Barr confirms that there is absolutely no evidence of that.

"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 said. "And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven't seen anything to substantiate that."

How has Donald Trump responded to Barr’s comments?

Trump is not usually one to keep quiet when his baseless allegation are publically disproved, but in this instance he has not yet commented on Barr’s comments specifically. However his legal team were quick to respond, dismissing the Attorney General’s statement despite offering nothing to defend their ongoing claims.

A statement from campaign lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis read: “With the greatest respect to the Attorney General, his opinion appears to be without any knowledge or investigation of the substantial irregularities and evidence of systemic fraud.”

Despite their refusal to back down, Barr’s comments could be the most decisive blow to the legal team’s ongoing efforts. The legal team are running out of time to contest the result before the Electoral College vote is returned on 14 December.

Republican figures begin to turn on Trump

Trump’s campaign team are also facing a rgrowing number of critics fromwithin the GOP who are calling for Trump to accept the result of the election after suffering so many legal defeats. Gabriel Sterling, a Republican election official from Georgia, has blamed Trump’s refusal to accept reality and his divisive rhetoric for putting election workers at risk.

On Monday, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey made his own stand against Trump by appearing to ignore a phone call from the White House while publically certifying his state’s election result for Joe Biden. Republican donor Dan Eberhart told AP that “Trump’s comments are damaging the Republican brand”, adding that he is “acting in bad sportsmanship and bad faith”.

In November Chris Krebs, Trump's former head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (Cisa), was fired was saying that the 2020 presidential election was “the most secure in American history”. Krebs was not seen as a Trump loyalist in the same way as Barr is, and the President dismissed his claims as “ridiculous, one-sided [and] an international joke”. He will not be able to brush aside Barr’s comments so easily.