The Justice Department hasn’t found evidence to support allegations of widespread fraud that could have changed the result of last month’s presidential election, Attorney General William Barr said in an interview with the Associated Press published Tuesday.
The comments from Barr, who has been steadfast in his support of President Donald Trump during his tenure, represent the latest official rebuke from Republicans of the President’s claims of widespread fraud in his loss to Joe Biden.
“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,” Barr said.
Barr, who prior to the election echoed Trump’s claims that mail-in voting wasn’t secure, said both the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security have looked into claims of fraud and come up empty.
“There’s been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results,” Barr said. “And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”
Barr’s announcement came the same day he publicly revealed he appointed Connecticut US Attorney John Durham to act as special counsel investigating whether intelligence and law enforcement violated the law in investigating the 2016 Trump presidential campaign – essentially keeping that issue alive into the Biden administration.
Trump and his attorneys are still pursuing desperate legal challenges to the 2020 election results in some key states, despite the fact that a number of them have already certified their results.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Monday that his state’s elections were secure, drawing condemnation from the President.
“I’ve been pretty outspoken about Arizona’s election system, and bragged about it quite a bit, including in the Oval Office,” the Republican governor tweeted in part, praising the state’s election laws and practices as secure and empowering to voters. Biden beat Trump by 10,457 votes in Arizona, the secretary of state’s office said.
And last week, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Georgia’s secretary of state rejected Trump’s calls for them to overturn the state’s election results after they were certified. Trump has made a series of unfounded claims of fraud in the state, for which there is no evidence, and he lost the state to Biden by more than 12,000 votes. Trump has criticized Kemp for how he handled the state’s recount.
Barr had previously pushed similar claims to the ones Trump has repeatedly made, including in September, when he made a number of false and misleading statements to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview in which he condemned states using mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic.
“People trying to change the rules to this, 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,” Barr said at the time.
Barr’s comments will almost certainly raise questions about Trump’s relationship to his attorney general moving forward, especially given the fact that Chris Krebs, the official running the cyber arm of the Department of Homeland Security, was jettisoned by the President because of a statement he released saying Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud were “highly inaccurate.”
Barr went to the White House on Tuesday for a pre-planned meeting with chief of staff Mark Meadows, an official told CNN.
Two attorneys working for Trump swiftly rejected Barr’s assessment on Tuesday, repeating their claim that they have “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states,” which they say the attorney general isn’t privy to.
“With the greatest respect to the attorney general, his opinion appears to be without any knowledge or investigation of the substantial irregularities and evidence of systemic fraud,” attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said in a statement.
This story has been updated with additional information on Barr’s actions.
CNN’s Caroline Kelly, Katelyn Polantz and Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.