- Trump spoke in the third person during a heated discussion with Bill Barr over voter fraud, per a new book.
- Trump was incensed that Barr dismissed claims of mass voter irregularities during an AP interview.
- Barr eventually resigned from his post just weeks after the AP interview.
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Last December, then-Attorney General Bill Barr sat down with Associated Press reporter Michael Balsamo, where he essentially rejected then-President Donald Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Barr said that the Department of Justice had looked into credible claims of fraud, but notably revealed that “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election.”
After the interview, Barr then headed to the White House for a previously scheduled meeting with chief of staff Mark Meadows, where he was told by Meadows that Trump would be “livid” at the election-related statements from the interview, according to a new book by Washington Post reporters Carol D. Leonnig and Philip Rucker.
Barr was told by White House counsel Pat Cipollone that Trump wanted to see him in his private dining room, where the president was watching the right-leaning One America News Network (OANN).
The scene was tense, as “everything about the president telegraphed that he was in a barely contained rage,” and even resulted in him switching to the third person, which Leonnig and Rucker detailed in “I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year.”
Trump immediately questioned Barr about the Associated Press interview, where he threw cold water on the president’s ongoing voter-fraud claims.
“Bill did, you say this?” Trump asked in a “sharp and quick” manner, according to the book.
After Barr confirmed that he had indeed made the statement, Trump questioned him again.
“How could you say this?” Trump said, according to the book. “Why didn’t you just not answer the question?”
The president raised his voice and peculiarly began to speak in the third person.
“There’s no reason for you to have said this!” he said, according to the book. “You must hate Trump!”
With OANN in the background, Trump “started yelling” and “was so angry his words came out like spit,” according to the book.
Trump then pointed to the television screen, as OANN was discussing election conspiracies that Pennsylvania backdated late-arriving ballots, as well as allegations that Fulton County, Georgia, illegally added ballots to their tally. Barr told Trump that the Justice Department reviewed the claims and found no evidence that such events occurred.
“We’ve looked into these things and they’re nonsense,” Barr said, according to the book.
After the back-and-forth, Barr reiterated to Trump that there was simply no evidence to support the most prominent allegations.
“Mr. President, I’m not up here to say there was no fraud,” the attorney general said at the time, according to the book. “There may very well have been fraud. I suspect there was fraud, maybe more than usual. But there’s no evidence of substantial fraud that would change the election, and your problem is you have five weeks. The reason you’re sitting where you are today is because you had five weeks for your lawyers to mount a strategy … whereby you can turn around the election.”
While Trump continued to act in an “explosive and crazed” manner, Barr sought to remain “calm and deliberate,” according to the book.
Nearly two weeks later, Trump announced that Barr would be departing the administration shortly before Christmas, lauding the attorney general for doing “an outstanding job.”