Attorney General William Barr reportedly warned President Donald Trump that his legal team was lying to him about the election being stolen and that some of their theories were “bulls***.”
Barr made the remarks during a December 1 meeting with the president and other top aides in the White House, according to left-leaning Axios, which has been highly critical of the administration. The meeting reportedly took place because Trump was angry that Barr gave an interview to The Associated Press that contradicted what Trump’s legal team had been claiming publicly.
In the AP interview, Barr said that federal investigators had been looking into allegations of voter fraud but noted that they had “not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”
When confronted about his comment by Trump, Barr reportedly warned the president about his legal team: Axios reports:
“These things aren’t panning out,” Barr told the president, standing beside his chief of staff Will Levi. “The stuff that these people are filling your ear with just isn’t true.” Barr explained that if Trump wanted to contest the election results, the president’s internal campaign lawyers would have to do it.
The Justice Department, he continued, had looked at the major fraud allegations that Trump’s lawyers had leveled. “It’s just bullshit,” Barr told the president. [White House counsel Pat] Cipollone backed up Barr by saying the DOJ was investigating these claims.
The report says that Cipollone and others in the room were stunned that Barr came out and said it in such a blunt manner, even though they agreed. Barr reportedly warned Trump that his legal team was “clownish.”
“I’m a pretty informed legal observer and I can’t f***ing figure out what the theory is here,” Barr reportedly said in reference to the claims that Trump’s legal team were making. “It’s just scattershot. It’s all over the hill and gone.”
“Maybe,” Trump said, according to Axios. “Maybe.”
Axios provides the following description of how it sourced its report:
Our reporting is based on multiple interviews with current and former White House, campaign, government and congressional officials as well as direct eyewitnesses and people close to the president. Sources have been granted anonymity to share sensitive observations or details they would not be formally authorized to disclose. President Trump and other officials to whom quotes and actions have been attributed by others were provided the opportunity to confirm, deny or respond to reporting elements prior to publication.
Barr, who was widely seen as the most consequential hire that Trump made during his presidency, was also a favorite among Trump’s base of supporters. He resigned three weeks after the AP interview. He has since strongly criticized Trump over the Capitol riot.
Trump’s legal team has been widely criticized across the political spectrum, including by some of Trump’s biggest allies, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson and conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.
Attorney Rudy Giuliani, who has been leading Trump’s legal team, has been criticized by many in the Trump world of damaging the president over the last couple of years, according to multiple Trump-critical outlets:
- The New York Times reported that “White House officials are universally angry with Rudolph W. Giuliani and blame him for both of President Trump’s impeachments.”
- Politico reported that Giuliani’s early post-election efforts scared off top lawyers that the campaign had worked hard for months to recruit.
- Axios reported that Giuliani was behind Trump’s “over-the-top antics in his first face-off with Joe Biden” during the presidential debates.
- Axios and The New York Times both reported that Giuliani had ruined a plan by close allies of the president to get The Wall Street Journal to break the story about the Hunter Biden scandal in October.