In this file photo taken on September 1, 2020, US President Donald Trump (right) and US Attorney General William Barr step off Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.(AFP/ FILE)
In this file photo taken on September 1, 2020, US President Donald Trump (right) and US Attorney General William Barr step off Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.(AFP/ FILE)

William Barr disputes Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud

The US attorney general is a close Trump ally and has repeated and defended all of the president’s claims and allegations in the past
By Yashwant Raj | Hindustan Times, Washington, DC
PUBLISHED ON DEC 02, 2020 09:37 AM IST

US Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday said the justice department has found no evidence of widespread voting fraud to change the outcome of the 2020 election, delivering a big blow to President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn his defeat citing unfounded claims of poll fraud.

Barr is a close Trump ally and has repeated and defended all of the president’s wild claims and allegations in the past. His clean chit on the elections was seen, therefore, as a stunning repudiation of his boss’s efforts to question it. He was seen at the White House after his remarks became public, but had his job intact till late in the evening.

The attorney general told AP in an interview that department of justice prosecutors and FBI agents had followed up specific poll fraud complaints and information they had received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election”.

The attorney general also told AP he had named US attorney Bill Durham as special counsel to investigate the investigators of the 2016 election, allegations of Russian interference and collusion by the president or his campaign.

As US attorney, a political appointee, he would have been removed by the Biden administration, but not as special counsel.

Barr’s remarks were consistent with the assessment by the department of homeland security’s top election security official, Christopher Krebs, who said the “2020 election was the most secure in US history”. Trump subsequently fired him.

President Trump himself hadn’t reacted publicly to Barr’s remarks. But his attorney Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis hit back in a statement, saying “there hasn’t been any semblance of a department of justice investigation” and that the lawyers had “gathered ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined”.

They have been unable to prove any of this so-called evidence in any court of law despite having filed more than three dozen lawsuits along with Republican allies.

Seemingly undeterred by being fact-checked by his attorney general, Trump tweeted out a stream of TV clips of so-called witnesses speaking about election fraud at briefings and one legislative hearing that they claimed to have seen or experienced personally, which have failed, once again, to withstand scrutiny in court.

President-elect Joe Biden, on the other hand, has continued to put together his administration publicly unaffected by Trump’s efforts to overturn the election.

He introduced his economic team comprising Janet Yellen and Neera Tanden, picks for treasury secretary and director of the office of management and budget respectively, in Wilmington, Delaware.

“Let me be clear, with this team and the others who we will add in the weeks ahead, we will create a recovery for all and get this economy moving again,” Biden said while introducing his team. “We will create jobs, raise incomes, reduce drug prices, advance racial equity across the economy, and restore the backbone of this country - the middle-class.”

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