Trump slams Barr at 'intense' meeting for disagreeing with him on voter fraud, doesn't rule out firing him
Trump criticized Barr during an event at the Oval Office claiming the latter 'hasn’t done anything' to find voter fraud
President Donald Trump has found an enemy in Attorney General Bill Barr, one of his closest allies, after the latter refused to agree with his view that the 2020 presidential election has been a fraudulent affair. Barr recently said in an interview that not enough evidence has been found to turn the results of the elections that went in favor of Joe Biden upside down. The president and his loyalists like Rudy Giuliani have been left fuming since.
The Washington Post on Wednesday, December 2, came up with a report saying the president was livid with the attorney general for publicly contradicting his claim of election fraud and could end up firing the latter. On Thursday, December 3, Trump severely criticized Barr during an event at the Oval Office claiming the latter “hasn’t done anything” to find voter fraud and stopped short of saying that he has confidence in Barr. Last month, the president said something similar against the AG alleging that he could not round up some of his domestic opponents, including former President Barack Obama. Barr also has expressed frustration privately over Trump’s repeated public pleas to indict Biden and other political foes.
On Thursday, Trump was asked by reporters following the Medal of Freedom Ceremony (to honor former college football coach Lou Holtz) whether he still has faith in Barr and to that, the president responded: “Ask me that in a number of weeks from now”. The president was reportedly livid with the AG after the latter contradicted his stand that the November 3 election was “rigged”. Trump said Barr hasn’t done anything yet and that “when he looks he’ll see the kind of evidence that right now you are seeing in the Georgia Senate”.
“They are going through hearings right now in the Senate and they are finding tremendous volumes. So they haven't looked very hard. Which is a disappointment to be honest,” Trump alleged. Giuliani and attorney Jenna Ellis also slammed Barr in a statement after his interview saying there was no sign of any investigation by the justice department despite them producing evidence of election fraud in at least six states.
The AG was summoned in a meeting with the president on Tuesday, December 1, after he expressed his views on the issue of alleged election fraud. According to ABC News, a source briefed on the meeting said the meeting was “intense”.
NBC News, on the other hand, reported that Trump was yet to rule out firing the AG but ‘people around’ him were trying to dissuade him from doing it. An extreme step could be politically upsetting as Barr could then make a series of damaging appearances in the media. Trump has already fired two top officials in Mark Esper and Chris Krebs after the election results came out over disagreements.
Barr was at the White House grounds for some time on Tuesday for other meetings and the president wanted to have a talk to him too.
McEnany says she is not aware of Trump-Barr meeting
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during a briefing on Wednesday that Barr clarified the justice department was only looking at the cases for a criminal angle. He said any of the charges concerning the election will be made in civil lawsuit.
“The campaign's litigation is all civil litigation, which is apart from something that the DOJ would be involved in,” the outgoing press secretary told the media. She, however, said that she did not know if Barr had a meeting with Trump. “I'm not aware if they've spoken. I know the Attorney General was here yesterday for a pre-planned meeting with the Chief of Staff, and they discussed an array of issues. But I'm not aware if the President has spoken to him directly,” she said.
But Trump contradicted McEnany’s stand by saying on Thursday that the election fraud cases were criminal in nature. “They should be looking at all of this fraud. This is not civil. This is criminal stuff. This is very bad criminal stuff,” he told the media at the Oval Office.
Following the talks between Trump and Barr, a spokesperson of the justice department claimed in a statement that the media inaccurately characterized the AG’s comments from the interview. “Some media outlets have incorrectly reported that the Department has concluded its investigation of election fraud and announced an affirmative finding of no fraud in the election,” the spokesperson said, adding: “That is not what the Associated Press reported nor what the Attorney General stated. The Department will continue to receive and vigorously pursue all specific and credible allegations of fraud as expeditiously as possible."