Jun 13, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Barr tells Jan. 6 panel: Trump "detached from reality" on voter fraud

US President Donald Trump (R) and US Attorney General William Barr step off Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on September 1, 2020
President Donald Trump and former Attorney General Bill Barr. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former Attorney General Bill Barr advised former President Trump that there was zero evidence of widespread fraud in the aftermath of the 2020 election, telling the special committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection that his former boss had "become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff."

Why it matters: It's a damning moment for Trump, whose hand-picked attorney general has characterized the former president's election claims as “bulls**t,” "idiotic" and "complete nonsense" all in the span of the recorded deposition played by the committee.

What he's saying: Barr said he told his secretary that he thought he would be fired for telling the Associated Press that there was no evidence of widespread election fraud.

  • "The President was as mad as I've ever seen and he was trying to control himself," Barr recalls of a subsequent meeting when Trump, who told him, “This is killing me. … You must have said this because you hate Trump, you hate Trump.”
  • The then-president, Barr said, was “indignant” when Barr told him that the fraud claims were “bulls**t” and there was “zero basis” for arguing that the election contractor Dominion Voting Systems had rigged the voting machines in favor of Joe Biden.
  • Barr said Trump told him “the [Dominion] report means I’m going to have a second term.”
  • “It looked very amateurish to me” with no supporting information, Barr said. “I was somewhat demoralized" because it showed "he's become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff.”

The bottom line: “The election was not stolen by fraud,” Barr insisted, and nothing has changed his mind, including Dinesh D'Souza's "2,000 Mules" movie, which he called "indefensible."

Go deeper: Inside the disintegration of Trump's relationship with Bill Barr

Go deeper