Former President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he pressured then-Attorney General Bill Barr to pursue bogus voter fraud claims after his election loss even if it meant being impeached.
Trump claimed in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity that Barr did not want to investigate his baseless voter fraud claims because he was worried about being impeached even though Barr has repeatedly said the Justice Department did not pursue the claims because there was no evidence of any widespread fraud that could have affected the election outcome.
"Look, we also had a chance, but Bill Barr, the attorney general, didn't want to be impeached," Trump said. "How do you not get impeached? You sit back and relax and wait out for your term to end. That's what he did. And it was a sad thing and a sad day for our country."
Trump also lashed out at Barr for writing what he called a "crummy book" that was "so false." Barr in his book rejected Trump's debunked fraud claims and blamed him for the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot, arguing that Trump was not fit for office.
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"Had Bill Barr had the courage, a lot of this could've been taken care of," Trump said. "The U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia said Bill Barr told him not to investigate the fraud in the elections, and he said 'Don't do it.' And he wrote a letter to that effect and you know, had Bill Barr had the courage to do what he should've done instead of being worried about being impeached.
"I said, 'Look, get impeached. I went up a lot in the polls when I got impeached. You have to get impeached, maybe,'" Trump added. "But he was so afraid of being impeached that he refused to do his job."
Barr had been a top Trump loyalist who helped run interference in special counsel Bob Mueller's investigation and led the administration's violent crackdown on Black Lives Matter protests. But Barr told MSNBC that Trump became enraged at him after he told him the election fraud "stuff was bullshit." Barr blindsided Trump in December 2020 by giving an interview revealing that the DOJ had found no evidence of widespread fraud, which led him to being pushed out just weeks before Trump left office. Trump continued to pursue the false fraud claims, culminating in the Capitol riot and his record-setting second impeachment. He left office with the lowest approval rating on record.
Barr in his book wrote that Trump surrounded himself with "sycophants" and "whack jobs from outside the government, who fed him a steady diet of comforting but unsupported conspiracy theories." He said that the "absurd lengths" to which Trump took the conspiracy theory "led to the rioting on Capitol Hill."
But despite criticizing his former boss, Barr vowed to vote for Trump if he is the Republican nominee in 2024 even though he is "going to support somebody else for the nomination."
Barr isn't the only former DOJ official Trump has lashed out this week for not doing enough to help him try to steal the election. The former president issued an anti-endorsement of sorts against Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Bill McSwain, the former U.S. attorney in Philadelphia that Trump mentioned in his Hannity interview.
"He was the U.S. Attorney who did absolutely nothing on the massive Election Fraud that took place in Philadelphia and throughout the commonwealth," Trump said in a statement on Tuesday.
McSwain last year sent Trump a letter seeking his endorsement and blaming Barr for stopping him from investigating the bogus fraud claims.
"He should have done his job anyway," Trump said. "Do not vote for Bill McSwain, a coward, who let our country down. He knew what was happening and let it go. It was there for the taking and he failed so badly. Many of the U.S. Attorneys were probably told not to do anything by Barr. Hence, our Country is going to hell."
While Trump has not endorsed a candidate in the race, every viable candidate in the race is an election conspiracist. Leading GOP candidates Doug Mastriano and Lou Barletta even took part in Trump's fraudulent elector scheme.
But as Trump and his allies continue to stoke debunked claims about the 2020 election, the schtick seems to be wearing thin on Republicans concerned the conspiracy theory mongering could cost them key seats in the midterms. Trump's recent endorsements have prompted infighting among his supporters and his rally attendance has dwindled, suggesting a "very shrinking base," one Republican strategist said.
"Many Republicans are tired of going back and rehashing the 2020 election," longtime Republican pollster Frank Luntz told The Daily Beast. "Everybody else has moved on and in Washington, everyone believes he lost the election."