Attorney General Bill Barr told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would influence the outcome of the 2020 election, undercutting Donald Trump’s repeated claims that the election had somehow been rigged against him.
Barr himself stoked fears of voter fraud in the days leading up to the election, joining Trump’s crusade against mail-in ballots and allowing prosecutors to take part in voter fraud investigations that could undermine public faith in the election system and decrease turnout. As my colleague Pema Levy wrote in October:
In September, Attorney General Bill Barr informed President Donald Trump that nine mail-in military ballots, seven of them cast for Trump, were discarded at an election office in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The White House press secretary told reporters that “ballots for the president” had been “cast aside.” Trump hyped it in an interview on Fox News Radio, prompting the local US attorney investigating the incident to put out a (inaccurate, then corrected) statement about the investigation. The situation quickly went viral, generating hype about fraud that the president and his campaign have been trying to gin up for months (actually, years).
While still under investigation, there is no evidence of malfeasance in Pennsylvania. It appears a single contract worker at the election office had tossed the ballots in a Republican-controlled county, and that election officials had quickly alerted authorities, appropriately handling the situation. Yet Trump and the Justice Department had successfully generated news about voter fraud, a central strategy as the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee fight court battles to make it harder to vote by mail and prepare to contest absentee ballots after the election. The wrongdoing was on the part of the Trump administration.
So, there you have it: Bill Barr, one of the biggest promoters of the voting fraud myth, admits that it didn’t happen.