Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urged then-Attorney General William Barr to speak out about former President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims of widespread fraud in the election, according to an excerpt from a new book.
An excerpt of “Betrayal” by ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl published in The Atlantic on Sunday tells the story of how the Kentucky senator pleaded with Barr to speak out about Trump’s election claims. Meanwhile, McConnell did not want to criticize Trump’s claims publicly.
As the run-off elections for Georgia’s two Senate seats drew near, McConnell reportedly believed the key to winning the two seats and maintaining a majority in the Senate was to campaign on the fact that Biden won the election and needed a check on his power in the Senate. However, he feared Trump’s claims were “damaging” to the country and would hurt Republicans’ chances.
According to Karl, McConnell wanted Trump to campaign in Georgia, but he was concerned that the president would be “enraged and likely act to sabotage the Republican Senate campaigns” if he declared Biden the winner of the election.
“Look, we need the president in Georgia,” McConnell told Barr. “And so we cannot be frontally attacking him right now. But you’re in a better position to inject some reality into this situation. You are really the only one who can do it.”
Barr responded, “I understand that…And I’m going to do it at the appropriate time.”
During a separate conversation, McConnell said, “Bill, I look around, and you are the only person who can do it.”
Karl said Barr told him he believed allegations of widespread fraud were “bulls***.”
A separate report said that Barr told Trump his claims “aren’t panning out” and were “just bulls***.”
And in an interview with The Associated Press published in December, Barr said, “To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election.”
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