Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include additional information and context about the example Attorney General Bill Barr cited in the interview below. The update can be found in brackets at the bottom of the piece.
Attorney General William Barr dismantled CNN host Wolf Blitzer during an interview on Wednesday afternoon over the issue of universal mail-in voting.
“Wolf, this is sort of cheap talk to get around the fundamental problem, which is the bipartisan commission chaired by Jimmy Carter and James Baker said back in 2009 that mail-in voting is fraught with the risk of fraud and coercion,” Barr said before Wolf tried to interrupt him. “Let me talk.”
“And since that time, there have been in the newspapers, in networks, academic studies saying it is open to fraud and coercion,” Barr continued. “The only time the narrative changed is after this administration came in. But elections that have been held with mail have found substantial fraud and coercion. For example, we indicted someone in Texas—1,700 ballots collected from people who could vote, he made them out and voted for the person he wanted to. That kind of thing happens with mail-in ballots.”
Blitzer pushed back by continuing to advance Democratic talking points, claiming that “we haven’t seen” widespread fraud.
“Well we haven’t had the kind of widespread use of mail in ballots as being proposed,” Barr said. “We’ve had absentee ballots from people who request them from a specific address. Now what we’re talking about is mailing them to everyone on the voter list, when everyone knows those voter lists are inaccurate. People who should get them don’t get, which has been one of the major complaints in states that have tried this in municipal elections, and people who get them are not the right people, they’re people who have replaced the previous occupant, and they can make [the ballot] out and sometimes multiple ballots come to the same address with several generations of occupants.”
“Do you think that’s a way to run a vote?” Barr blasted Blitzer.
“This is playing with fire,” Barr continued. “We’re a very closely divided country here, and people have to have confidence in results of the election and the legitimacy of the government and people trying to change the rules to this methodology—which as a matter of logic is very open to fraud and coercion—is reckless and dangerous, and people are playing with fire.”
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 2, 2020
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This article has been updated to include additional transcript from Attorney General William Barr’s interview with CNN host Wolf Blitzer.
[After the CNN interview, Kerri Kupec, a DOJ spokesperson, told The Washington Post that Barr was given a memo that “contained an inaccurate summary” of the local Texas case, “which he relied upon when using the case as an example.” Mike Snipes, then-first assistant district attorney for Dallas County, told the Post that investigators initially believed up to 1,700 ballots could be fraudulent, but ultimately “did not uncover that.”]