Former Attorney General William Barr is claiming that “in the broad sense of that word,” former President Donald Trump is responsible for the Jan. 6, 2021, protest at the U.S. Capitol that went awry.
The inflammatory remark being the best indication that Barr has a new book about to hit the shelves and is looking to draw headlines.
In Barr’s forthcoming memoir, “One Damn Thing After Another: Memoirs of an Attorney General,” there’s plenty of focus on Trump and the 2020 presidential election, and in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt that is set to air on Sunday, Barr was asked if Trump was responsible for events that took place at the Capitol.
“I do think he was responsible in the broad sense of that word, and that it appears that part of the plan was to send this group up to the Hill,” he replied. “I think the whole idea was to intimidate Congress, and I think that that was wrong.”
The comment is carefully couched, There’s a huge difference between intimidation as in thousands of protesters expressing their concerns about an election many believed was rigged in some manner, and storming the Capitol, as some did. The media continues to conflate the peaceful, legally held “Stop the Steal” rally that day with the later rioting.
The Wall Street Journal published an excerpt from Barr’s book on Thursday focused on Barr confronting Trump about his election fraud claims.
“You started blaming the department for the inability of your legal team to come up with evidence of fraud,” Barr recounted telling Trump in his memoir. “The department is not an extension of your legal team. Our mission is to investigate and prosecute actual fraud. The fact is, we have looked at the major claims your people are making, and they are bullshit.”
Trump had two months to produce convincing evidence to support his claims and failed to do so. Some point to the legal team he assembled, which was led by former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. The former president also lost a number of court battles claiming voter fraud.
Barr told NBC News that he offered to resign and that a “very angry” Trump immediately accepted.
“I understand you’re upset with me. And I’m perfectly happy to tender my resignation,” Barr claimed he told Trump, who he said then slapped his desk and said: “Accepted. Accepted.”
“And then — boom. He slapped it again. ‘Accepted. Go home. Don’t go back to your office. Go home. You’re done,'” he added.
Responding to Barr’s interview, Trump told the network in a letter that he was the one who asked the then-attorney general to resign that day and said Barr’s account was made up. In that same letter, the former president called Barr a “coward,” “a big disappointment” and “lazy,” Holt said.
Holt would press Barr on the Russian collusion investigation, which Barr called “rubbish,” saying it “didn’t ring true.”
Taking exception to allegations that he acted as Trump’s personal lawyer, Barr said: “The narrative was I was a toady to Trump and I would do Trump’s bidding. And the media constantly went out with that story.”
When Holt asked whether he had been a toady, Barr responded, “Well, I think no, because I tried to take every issue that came to me and decide it what I thought was the right thing.”
Barr said he was “livid” when Trump brought his name up during his infamous 2019 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy — Trump told Zelenskyy he’d have Barr get in touch in regard to failed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s email server and the president’s son, Hunter Biden.
“This whole maneuver of trying to get the Ukrainians to investigate Biden — that was a harebrained scheme. It was ridiculous,” Barr said.
He also claimed that Trump “never really had a good idea of, you know, the role of the Department of Justice [and] to some extent, you know, the president’s role.”
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