How Bill Barr became the January 6 committee's star witness | CNN Politics

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  jbb  •  2 weeks ago  •  15 comments

By:   Chris Cillizza (CNN)

How Bill Barr became the January 6 committee's star witness | CNN Politics
If the January 6 committee could have built a perfect witness in a lab, that witness would have looked and sounded a lot like Bill Barr.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



220123110916-bill-barr-2020-file.jpg?c=16x9&q=h_270,w_480,c_fill US Attorney General Bill Barr at a news conference at the Department of Justice, December 21, 2020, in Washington. Michael Reynolds/Pool/Getty Images CNN —

If the January 6 committee could have built a perfect witness in a lab, that witness would have looked and sounded a lot like Bill Barr.

The former attorney general has been all over the first two public hearings of the committee, delivering quotable line after quotable line for public consumption.

"Bullshit," Barr told the committee of former President Donald Trump's election fraud claims.

"Right out of the box on election night, the President claimed that there was major fraud underway," Barr said. "I mean, this happened, as far as I could tell, before there was actually any potential of looking at evidence."

The Justice Department "doesn't take sides in the election, and the department is not an extension of your legal team," Barr said he told Trump in a meeting in November 2020.

"There was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were." Barr said of his post-election interactions with Trump.

Again and again (and again), Barr's quotes were the ones the committee leaned on as it sought to make its case against the former President. And, again and again, Barr quotes were the ones leading the cable news broadcasts and newspaper stories about the hearings.

They represented a stark contrast to the halting and evasive "answers" provided by some other witnesses - most notably Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

Kushner, for example, was asked whether he had conveyed his opinion of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to the President. After a long pause, Kushner said he had; "Not the approach I would take if I were you," Kushner said he had told Trump. Enlightening! Not.

The difference, of course, is what the respective witnesses have to lose - or believe they have to lose.

Kushner and Ivanka Trump, at least in their own calculations, have tons to lose. And so they appear to have tried, in these interviews with the January 6 committee (and, really, the entirety of their time in the White House) to thread a very narrow needle: staying close enough to Trump to retain access and power while keeping enough distance to steer clear of the President's most controversial moves. (The New York Times literally ran a piece over the weekend headlined, "How Jared Kushner Washed His Hands of Donald Trump Before Jan. 6.")

Barr, on the other hand, has absolutely nothing to lose. He resigned as attorney general in mid-December 2020 amid ongoing issues with Trump and his increasingly wild (and fact-free) claims about the 2020 election. And even that stint as the nation's top cop was sort of like a victory lap for Barr anyway; he had held the same job in the Bush 41 administration.

Barr is also 72 years old. He's very unlikely to serve in another Trump administration (if Trump runs and wins in 2024), and he'll be too old to do so if Trump loses in 2024 and it's not until 2028 when a Republican has a chance at the White House.

There's also another reason for Barr's star turn as a witness: He's trying to shape, retroactively, how his time spent in the Trump administration - and, in particular, his views on voter fraud - is told by the history books.

Remember that Barr was far less skeptical of voter fraud claims made by Trump before the 2020 election.

Here's an exchange between Barr and CNN's Wolf Blitzer in September 2020:

Blitzer : You've said you were worried that a foreign country could send thousands of fake ballots, thousands of fake ballots to people, and it might be impossible to detect. What are you basing that on?

Barr : I'm basing that - as I've said repeatedly, I'm basing that on logic.

Blitzer : Pardon?

Barr : Logic.

Blitzer : But have you seen any evidence that a foreign country is trying to interfere in that way? Are you concerned -

Barr : No, I'm saying people - no, I'm saying people are concerned about foreign influence, and if we use a ballot system with a system that some - that states are just now in trying to adopt, it does leave open the possibility of counterfeiting, counterfeiting ballots either by someone here or someone overseas.

Blitzer : So you think a foreign country could do that?

Barr : I think anyone can do that.

Blitzer : Have you seen any evidence that they're trying to do that?

Barr : No, but most things can be counterfeited. That's why we go through the trouble of counter - of making our money the way we make it.

Barr, asked in a March 2022 - yes 2022! - interview with CNN's Jake Tapper whether he stood by what he had said in the fall of 2020, said this:

"I stand by all of that. My view is that in such a closely divided country with so much at stake, we have to keep strong protections against fraud and protect the integrity of the election, and I think when they are diluted and reduced - which they were - then people are not going to have confidence in the election, whether or not fraud occurs."

Which, well, right.

And it's not just that. A top election crimes prosecutor at the Department of Justice quit in the days after the election after Barr said that the department should look into election irregularities.

Barr then is far from blameless in sowing the seeds of the Big Lie. Which, at some level, he must know - and want to rectify.

Barr's prominence in these committee hearings may well fade as the legislators move closer to the events of the January 6 riot at the US Capitol. But, for the moment, he is the star witness of these proceedings.


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JBB
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JBB    2 weeks ago

Meanwhile back in reality Bill Barr described Trump's election fraud claims as bogus and lacking evidence and described Trump's allegations as, "All Lies"...

Then, Barr resigned from Trump's cabinet in disgust!

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
2  Ronin2    2 weeks ago

The Jan 6th committee is still rehashing shit that everyone already knows.

Maybe one day they will actually come up with something original for a change? That is only if it makes Trump look bad; if doesn't it will be buried with the thousands of hours of security footage of Jan 6th they won't release; and all testimony from witnesses they can't turn to their advantage.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
2.1  Ozzwald  replied to  Ronin2 @2    2 weeks ago
The Jan 6th committee is still rehashing shit that everyone already knows.

And yet a high percentage of republicans do not believe it.

82% of Fox News, 97% of OANN, Newsmax Viewers Believe Trump's Stolen Election Claim: Poll

Most Americans trust elections are fair, but sharp divides exist, a new poll finds

Poll: A Third of Americans Question Legitimacy of Biden Victory Nearly a Year Since Jan. 6

Maybe one day they will actually come up with something original for a change?

The attempted overthrow of our elected government not important enough for you?

That is only if it makes Trump look bad; if doesn't it will be buried with the thousands of hours of security footage of Jan 6th they won't release; and all testimony from witnesses they can't turn to their advantage.

What has he done, that could be considered "good", during Jan 6 insurrection when compared to everything else?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.2  JohnRussell  replied to  Ronin2 @2    2 weeks ago
Maybe one day they will actually come up with something original for a change?

They dont need something original. The truth is already out there in plain sight. 

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
3  seeder  JBB    2 weeks ago

To hear some folks tell it Barr stayed loyal to Trump.

He didn't and he described Trump's lies as, "Bullshit!"

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
3.1  Ozzwald  replied to  JBB @3    2 weeks ago
To hear some folks tell it Barr stayed loyal to Trump.

He did stay loyal to Trump, up until he was no longer working for Trump.

He didn't and he described Trump's lies as, "Bullshit!"

He should have announced this "bullshit" prior to leaving office.  But he stayed silent other than one mild statement that he could not find any evidence for fraud.  Now he is just one of many ex-Trump employees that are now willing to tell the truth behind what happened, for their 15 minutes of fame, or future book deal.

Barr is bought and paid for scum, and he will never be anything else.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
3.1.1  seeder  JBB  replied to  Ozzwald @3.1    2 weeks ago

I did not say Barr was a good guy, just that he did not believe or support Trump's Bigass Lie! Barr should still be disbarred and run out of town on the proverbial rail...

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
3.1.2  Ozzwald  replied to  JBB @3.1.1    2 weeks ago
I did not say Barr was a good guy, just that he did not believe or support Trump's Bigass Lie!

You are correct about the not believing part, but I have more faith in him than you do.  If he had stayed as AG, he would have found some way for the justice department to have supported "the big lie", but not overtly.  Perhaps a simple statement such as, "the DOJ is investigating certain leads in regards to voter fraud, but is not at liberty to go into details at this time".

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
4  Tacos!    2 weeks ago

None of this is news. They aren’t blowing the lid off of anything.

From December, 2020:

Disputing Trump, Barr says no widespread election fraud

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
4.1  Ozzwald  replied to  Tacos! @4    2 weeks ago

They aren’t blowing the lid off of anything.

From December, 2020:

Disputing Trump, Barr says no widespread election fraud

And yet, even after that, an amazingly large percentage of republicans still believe the election was stolen.  So they have to have people like Barr, Ivanka, and other trusted insiders, say it over and over and over and over again.

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
4.1.1  Tacos!  replied to  Ozzwald @4.1    2 weeks ago

I don’t think these people are interested in evidence, testimony, or reason of any kind. But I’d be happy to be wrong about that.

 
 
 
Snuffy
Senior Guide
4.1.2  Snuffy  replied to  Tacos! @4.1.1    2 weeks ago

I'm afraid  you're right.  We have the extremists from both sides who have their "partisan" proof and that's all they need or want to hear.  I can only hope that those die-hards are in the minority.  

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
4.1.3  Ozzwald  replied to  Snuffy @4.1.2    2 weeks ago
We have the extremists from both sides

Whataboutism is your response?

 
 
 
Snuffy
Senior Guide
4.1.4  Snuffy  replied to  Ozzwald @4.1.3    2 weeks ago

There's no whataboutism in my comment, it is simple truth.  

Now if  you are one of the extremists from one side or the other I can understand the deep need to deflect from the comment.  

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
4.1.5  Tessylo  replied to  Ozzwald @4.1.3    2 weeks ago

That's all they got!

 
 

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