Former Attorney General Bill Barr has said that Donald Trump‘s allegations of election fraud and his claims that the Presidency was ‘stolen’ from him ‘precipitated’ the DC riots, in his first TV interview since resigning.
Barr was asked about Trump and his campaign’s claims about the legitimacy of the election, and appeared to take a swipe at his former boss.
ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo asked Barr: ‘Perhaps the debate about the integrity of the election was the final straw?’
Barr replied: ‘I think that was the thing that precipitated the riots on the Hill’
He added: ‘I think it’s always important to remember most people are exercising their First Amendment rights but there is a substantial group obviously that went far beyond that and broke into the Capitol and tried to interfere with the proceedings and that’s unacceptable.’
ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo asked Barr: ‘Perhaps the debate about the integrity of the election was the final straw?’ Barr replied: ‘I think that was the thing that precipitated the riots on the Hill’
‘Regardless of which side of the political spectrum is involved, we just cannot tolerate violence interfering with the processes of government’.
‘I’ll leave it to the people who are looking into the genesis of this to say whether incitement was involved.’
Barr – previously a fiercely loyal supporter of the president – left office in December after serving as attorney general under the Trump administration for more than year.
Speaking during the interview, Barr said he would describe the violence seen by supporters of the president as ‘inevitable’.
He added: ‘I think that when you start suppressing free speech, when people lose confidence in the media, and also when they lose faith in the integrity of elections – you are going to have some people resort to violence.’
Barr, who also served as attorney general under President George W Bush, said that the ’emergence of violence in the political process’ was one of his concerns during his second spell in the office.
‘It was just starting – people attacking, people wearing Trump hats, and things like that. You had the Proud Boys who were on the right, fighting the Antifa who were on the left,’ Barr told ITV News.
‘I said that I was very worried about the emergence of violence and he had to have zero tolerance for it.’
The assault on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump left five people dead
Pictured: Supporters of President Donald Trump attend ‘Save America’ rally where Trump spoke as election results are to be certified in Washington DC on January 6, 2021
He went on to agree that there were ‘similarities’ between the rioters and Islamist terrorists, ‘because many of the people that get involved in this are people who have problems – psychological problems or problems with their socialisation.
‘So to that extent, the raw material of extremism may be similar.’
However, some groups were just ‘anarchists against any kind of order,’ he said. ‘The Islamist threat is far more programmatic. There’s probably more structure to it than what we have to deal with here,’ he noted.
Barr told President Donald Trump in December that his widespread voter fraud claims were ‘bulls**t’ and the legal team he was assembling was ‘clownish.’
There was not widespread fraud in the election, as has been confirmed by a range of election officials, as well as Barr himself. Nearly all of the legal challenges put forth by Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges.
Axios reported on the fallout between Trump and Barr, who resigned from his perch at the Justice Department on December 23.
Attorney General Bill Barr told President Donald Trump that his widespread election fraud claims were ‘bulls**t’ and said Trump’s team of lawyers were ‘clownish’
Barr, according to Axios, thought Trump’s ideas were too aggressive and likened their conversations to the movie ‘Groundhog Day,’ as the same arguments happened over and over again.
Trump would throw tantrums when Barr questioned what he would do with troops in major U.S. cities.
Barr pointed out that the troops could be stranded in Portland and other cities indefinitely.
‘No one supports me,’ Trump yelled at one point. ‘No one gives me any f***ing support.’
Axios said that Barr acted like a ‘heat shield’ between the president and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
Milley and Esper, like Barr, believed deploying troops to Portland was a bad idea.
After a summer of fighting, Barr tried to avoid Trump through the fall.
And the attorney general was largely successful because the president was on the campaign trail so much.
But after the November 3 election, Trump needed Barr to push his election fraud narrative.
Barr had asked the DOJ to speed up federal investigations of election fraud allegations, but that wasn’t enough for Trump – as the evidence investigators sought didn’t exist.
On November 29, Trump called Barr’s DOJ ‘missing in action’ on Fox News Channel.
The messaging infuriated Barr, Axios reported.
In turn, Barr gave an interview to an Associated Press reporter, Michael Balsamo, where he said publicly there was no widespread election fraud.
Barr knew the story could go live as he was going into a White House meeting on December 1.
And Trump did confront him over the AP headline: ‘Disputing Trump, Barrs says no widespread election fraud.’
‘Why would you say such a thing? You must hate Trump. There’s no other reason for it. You must hate Trump,’ the president responded, speaking in the third person, Axios reported.
Send in the troops: Donald Trump repeatedly demanded that Bill Barr allow the military to deploy to Portland as the two men’s relationship went into a tailspin
Barr responded that, ‘these things aren’t panning out. The stuff that these people are filling your ear with just isn’t true,’ he said, according to Axios.
Barr explained that the DOJ had looked into these fraud allegations that Trump’s lawyers like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell were peddling.
‘It’s just bulls**t,’ Barr said.
‘I’m a pretty informed legal observer and I can’t fucking figure out what the theory is here,’ Barr continued. ‘It’s just scattershot. It’s all over the hill and gone.’
Trump responded with a, ‘maybe.’
Barr quit before Christmas because he didn’t want his private disagreements coming into public view, Axios said.
On December 14, Barr met with Trump and argued that it was best for him to step aside. He did so the following week, on December 23.
January 6 saw a violent mob of MAGA supporters storm the Capitol, breaking through police barricades and smashing windows to enter the building.
Capitol police officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress
Richard Barnett, a supporter of US President Donald Trump sits inside the office of US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as he protest inside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 6
Lawmakers were forced to go into hiding for several hours as Capitol police grappled to take back control while the mob rioted in the Senate and House, invaded Nancy Pelosi’s office and looted items potentially including state secrets.
One female Trump supporter, US Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, was shot dead by Capitol Police as she tried to climb through a window.
Three other Trump supporters died after ‘medical emergencies’ related to the breach and Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick died the following day from injuries sustained in the attack after the thug allegedly hit him over the head with a fire extinguisher.
Many people have already been arrested and prosecutors across the U.S. have vowed to bring to justice those who stormed the U.S. Capitol, sending lawmakers into hiding as they began their work to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
The group included white nationalists, neo-Nazis and QAnon conspiracy theorists, coming from states as far-flung as Arizona and Oregon, while photographs from the riot have shown people wearing clothes with a range of antisemitic messages.
Trump has become the only president to be twice impeached, and the first to be prosecuted as he leaves the White House, an ever-more-extraordinary end to his tenure.
A precedent set by the Senate in the 1800s established that a trial can proceed even after a federal official leaves office. Trump was first impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine, but the Senate voted last year to acquit.
Ten Republicans joined all Democrats in the 232-197 impeachment vote on Wednesday, the most bipartisan modern presidential impeachment.
When his second trial does begin, House impeachment managers say they will be making the case that Trump’s incendiary rhetoric hours before the attack on the Capitol was not isolated, but directly intended to interrupt the electoral count as part of his escalating campaign to overturn the November election.