Sunday, December 4, 2022

Ex-AG William Barr Says Trump Is Broadly ‘Responsible’ For January 6 Attack

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Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr holds former President Donald Trump “responsible” for the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building, the ex-official told NBC News, saying he thinks his former boss’ attempts to overturn the election helped spur the violent riot as multiple lawsuits now attempt to hold Trump accountable.

Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr (L) and President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the … [+] White House on November 26, 2019 in Washington, DC.

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Key Facts

Barr told NBC anchor Lester Holt he believes Trump “was responsible in the broad sense of that word” for the January 6 attack, in which his supporters stormed the Capitol building as lawmakers were counting the electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election.

“It appears” part of Trump’s plan to block the electoral vote count “was to send this group up to the Hill,” Barr said, adding the “whole idea was to intimidate Congress” and he thinks “that was wrong.”

Barr told NBC he hasn’t “seen anything to say [Trump] was legally responsible for it in terms of incitement,” however.

Barr broadly opposed Trump’s efforts to overturn the vote count, saying he told the ex-president that “all this [election fraud]
stuff was bulls–t” and “it was wrong to be shoveling it out the way his team was.”

The ex-AG also said he told Trump his legal team working to oppose the vote count was a “bunch of clowns” before tendering his resignation.

Trump has broadly opposed Barr’s claims, and NBC said he had responded to its interview with Barr with a three-page letter decrying him as “fake,” a “coward,” “a big disappointment” and “lazy.”

What To Watch For
Trump’s culpability in the January 6 attack is now being debated in court, as a number of lawsuits brought by congressional Democrats and Capitol police officers now seek to hold the ex-president legally liable for the riot. A district court judge has already ruled three of those lawsuits can move forward against Trump, finding there’s evidence to suggest his actions were part of a “plausible conspiracy” and rejecting the former president’s legal arguments that he has legal “immunity” because his actions were part of his presidential duties. The House January 6 committee also indicated in court filings this week they may press the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into Trump for his post-election efforts, telling a judge they have a “good-faith basis” to believe Trump and his allies engaged in “criminal conspiracy” and violated multiple laws. It’s still unclear whether the DOJ would take up an investigation, however, and legal experts cited by Reuters are skeptical it will.

Key Background
Barr served as Trump’s attorney general from February 2019 to December 2020, drawing widespread criticism during his tenure for appearing to do the president’s bidding before leaving office amid Trump’s post-election campaign to challenge the results. Barr disputed Trump’s claims of widespread election fraud at the time, telling the Associated Press he had “not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election.” The former AG has become more outspoken against Trump since he left the White House, and has ramped up his comments challenging the ex-president in recent weeks as he promotes his book detailing his time in the Trump White House, which reportedly portrays Trump in an unflattering light and will be released March 8. When asked by anchors on the TODAY Show Friday if Barr had regretted not publicly speaking out before January 6 about his opposition to Trump’s post-election campaign, Holt said Barr told him he believed “the theme was already baked in” and instead put the blame on the “whack jobs” who aided the president.

Further Reading
Barr Rebukes Trump as ‘Off the Rails’ in New Memoir (New York Times)

Bill Barr Says He Suspected Trump’s Election Fraud Claims Were ‘Bullsh-t’ From The Start (Forbes)

Barr Defies Trump, Says No Evidence Of Voter Fraud That Could Change Election Result (Forbes)

Here Are All Of The Legal Issues Trump Faces For Trying To Overthrow The Election (Forbes)

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