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Former Attorney General Bill Bar warned former President Donald Trump multiple times after the 2020 presidential election that he saw “absolutely zero evidence” of fraud, he told the House Jan. 6 committee.
In extended excerpts of video deposition from Barr played during the committee’s second hearing June 13, Barr said claims of election fraud were “bull****.”
READ MORE: Who are the witnesses testifying at the Jan. 6 hearings?
“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,” he told members of the committee.
Barr was in Trump’s inner circle in both the run-up to the election and the immediate aftermath, and played a key role in public communications about the legitimacy of the election.
In the deposition played June 13, he recalled being particularly disturbed about what he described as Trump’s “idiotic claims” about voting machines being “rigged” — falsehoods that Barr said were “obviously influencing a lot of members of the public” who were upset at the thought that there “was this systemic corruption … and that their votes didn’t count.”
Barr said he told Trump that the claims were doing a “great disservice” to the country, and in a separate conversation reminded him that his office was not an extension of the president’s legal team.
WATCH LIVE: Jan. 6 committee hearing – Day 2
During the 2020 campaign, Barr regularly referred to unfounded worries about election interference or fraud. In July 2020, he claimed there was “a high risk” of “massive” fraud from mail-in voting, though he also said he had “no reason to think” the election would be rigged. And he speculated without evidence that same year that a “foreign country could print up tens of thousands of counterfeit ballots.”
But after Trump lost the election, Barr said publicly his office had seen no evidence of voter fraud, and he stepped down as attorney general in December, weeks before the Jan. 6 insurrection.
During the June 9 hearing, the committee played some of Barr’s testimony, where he said he told Trump there was no merit to claims of fraud, calling them “complete nonsense.” Barr also said the false claims of election fraud are what prompted him to resign.
WATCH: Jan. 6 committee hearing – Day 2
“I saw absolutely zero basis for the allegations,” Barr said during his taped deposition.
Later in the hearing, the committee showed part of a closed-door interview with former first daughter Ivanka Trump, who confirmed that Barr had told her there was no evidence of election fraud, and that she had believed him.
Trump’s daughter was asked if the attorney general’s conclusions had an impact on her.
“It affected my perspective,” Ivanka Trump said.” I respect Attorney General Barr. So I accepted what he was saying.”
Barr and his refusal to publicly claim election fraud and his exit from office is expected to be the theme of the committee’s third hearing June 15.
For more on the key players in the Jan. 6 committee hearings, click here.
This story is developing and will be updated as more becomes available.
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