Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday said there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome of the election, undercutting President Trump’s repeated baseless claims to the contrary.
“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election,” Barr told The Associated Press in an interview.
Barr told the wire service that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been following up on specific complaints following the election but have yet to discover anything on a scale that would overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Trump has for weeks made the false claim that the election was stolen from him, arguing almost daily that there are enough fraudulent votes in major cities in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Georgia that would change the outcome. But his legal team has yet to provide any such evidence in court, with several lawsuits being dismissed for lack of standing.
Barr on Tuesday appeared to knock down one theory propagated by attorney and Trump ally Sidney Powell that Dominion Voting Systems machines were used to change votes and were backed by communist money.
“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 [Department of Homeland Security] and DOJ [Department of Justice] have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency declared the 2020 election the “most secure in American history” last month. Trump fired its now-former director, Christopher Krebs, for the statement.
Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Wisconsin are among the states that have certified Biden as the winner but where Trump is contesting the results.
Barr’s comments are his first about the integrity of the election, and they mark the latest stinging rebuke of Trump’s efforts to undermine the results. Barr had said before the election he was concerned about the security of widespread mail-in ballots, suggesting they could be manipulated by foreign powers.
Barr has long been criticized by Democrats and government watchdog groups for defending Trump and blurring the lines of impartiality between the Justice Department and the White House.
Trump on Sunday questioned why the DOJ and the FBI were not doing more to investigate his unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud, saying the bureau was “missing in action.”
Barr was seen arriving at the White House on Monday afternoon, shortly after his interview with the AP was published. Trump had no events on his public schedule, and it was not immediately clear why Barr was there.
Trump’s legal team brushed aside Barr’s comments in a statement of its own in which it strained to avoid attacking the attorney general personally.
“With all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance of a Department of Justice investigation,” Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said, complaining that the department has not thoroughly vetted their claims of irregularities in “at least six states.”
“Again, 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,” Giuliani and Ellis said.