By Tierney Sneed, CNN
Former Attorney General William Barr on Friday stood by his widely criticized comments before the 2020 election that mail voting was vulnerable to fraud, even as he condemned former President Donald Trump‘s false post-election claims that the 2020 contest had been stolen from him.
“I stand by all of that,” Barr told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead.” “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.”
Barr made a number of unsubstantiated claims in the lead-up to the election that boosted Trump’s fear-mongering about voter fraud ahead of his defeat.
Barr repeatedly raised, without evidence, the threat that mail-in ballots would be mass counterfeited by foreign countries. When asked for evidence to support the allegations, Barr said his unsubstantiated claims were based on “common sense” and “logic.”
The Justice Department had to clarify that another allegation put forward by Barr before the election — about a supposed 1,700 fraudulent ballots in Texas — was made in error. Election experts repeatedly debunked Barr’s comments suggesting that mail voting was vulnerable to mass fraud.
After the election, Barr privately pushed back on Trump’s claims of a stolen election, according to an account in Barr’s new memoir, “One Damn Thing After Another.”
In his interview with Tapper on Friday, Barr noted that twice after the election he publicly rebuked Trump’s false claims of mass election fraud.
This story is breaking and will be updated.
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