Election Law

Lawyers surrounding Trump rejected stolen election claims; Barr calls claims 'idiotic' and 'disturbing'

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Trump and Barr

Former President Donald Trump and former U.S. Attorney General William Barr in 2019. Photo from the U.S. Department of Justice, PD US DOJ, via Wikimedia Commons.

Lawyers surrounding former President Donald Trump, including former U.S. Attorney General William Barr, rejected his claims of a stolen election and told him so, according to witnesses testifying before the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot.

In recorded testimony, Barr said Trump’s claims were “idiotic” and “bulls- - -,” and Trump was “detached from reality if he really believes this stuff,” report Law.com, Reuters, the New York Times, PBS NewsHour, NPR and the Washington Post.

Trump never gave any “indication of interest in what the actual facts were,” Barr said.

His claims of election fraud were “like playing Whac-a-Mole,” Barr said.

Barr said Trump’s claims of rigged voting machines were “among the most disturbing.”

“I saw no evidence for the allegations, but they were made in such a sensational way they were influencing members of the public,” Barr said. “It was complete nonsense. … It was a great disservice to the country.”

Trump campaign lawyer Matt Morgan said he spoke with lawyers who had agreed to assist on election day, according to Law.com.

“The general consensus was law firms were not comfortable making the arguments that Rudy Giuliani was making publicly,” Morgan said

Other testimony by lawyers included:

• Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue said he addressed specific allegations—including a claim about a suspicious “suitcase” of votes in Georgia—and told Trump that they weren’t true. “I told him flat out that much of the information he was getting was false or not supported by the evidence,” he said. (PBS NewsHour, the Washington Post, NPR)

• Byung J. “BJay” Pak, who resigned as a U.S. attorney in Atlanta, said he found no evidence of fraud in Georgia. The suitcase, he said, was actually a lock box where ballots were kept safe. (Reuters, NPR)

• A Trump White House lawyer, Eric Herschmann, said the theories floated by Trump and his allies were “nuts” and “just all over the radar.” (Law.com)

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