By Elpidio R. Estioko
Attorney General William Barr, a staunched ally of US President Donald Trump, announced that there is no evidence of voter fraud in the latest presidential election.
The announcement was made a day after Trump gave his first TV interview since the election. These are two opposing poles of Trump’s radar worth examining.
On Sunday, President Trump spoke with Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo in his first TV interview since the election. “The conversation was riddled with lies and conspiracy theories,” according to Alexis Benveniste, CNN Business.
Bartiromo opened the interview with a question about election fraud, telling Trump, “The facts are on your side.” Trump responded, falsely saying, “This election was a fraud; it was a rigged election.” The Fox anchor then reflected the president’s anger, saying, “This is disgusting, and we cannot allow America’s election to be corrupted.”
CNN’s Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter said on “Reliable Sources” Sunday: The interview highlighted that Trump is “unable or unwilling to accept reality.”
Trump falsely told Bartiromo “We had glitches where they moved thousands of votes from my account to Biden’s account,” and he continued to “bash mail-in voting and incorrectly claimed ‘dead people were applying to get a ballot.’”
This was negated the following day by Barr, who said there was no fraud voter in the election.
Stelter said: “Trump’s intention is to ‘flood the zone’ and ‘confuse people’ by pushing out conspiracy theories, lies and half-truths.”
Towards the end of the almost an hour interview, Trump finally discussed the coronavirus pandemic which continue to be out of control.
Trump claimed that “the United States is more in control of the pandemic than other nations,” but this was belied by America’s higher infection rate than many countries.
Latest statistics show (as of Sunday) “there are more than 13 million Covid-19 cases in the United States and more than 266,000 people in the United States have died from Covid-19 complications.”
Trump also took credit for drug companies’ vaccine trials, which have resulted in far-better-than-expected efficacy rates. The Trump administration’s “Operation Warp Speed” funded some pharmaceutical companies’ research, development and eventual distribution of the vaccine, but some companies with successful vaccine trials — such as Pfizer (PFE) — did not participate in the administration’s program.
People who work closely with the president have avoided answering questions about the election, avoiding questions about the president’s efforts to overturn the election, and that the election is “rigged”.
Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Barr declared Tuesday “the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election,” according to the story written by Michael Balsamo published in Associated Press.
Barr’s comments contradict the “concerted effort” by Trump, his boss, to “subvert the results of last month’s voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.”
Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”
The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president’s most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that “mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.”
Interestingly, Trump did not directly comment on the attorney general’s remarks on the election, but his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, “with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president’s complaints. With Barr’s comment, Giuliani is now left alone in pursuing Trump’s legal battle to overturn the election because it was “rigged”.
The AP report noted that “Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump’s allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it is not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.”
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”
Consistently, the Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging “a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers did not have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened.”
However, the claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence, but “local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy,” the report noted.
Trump himself continues not to recognize the election in his tweets and in his interviews… although he recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but… he still refuses to admit he lost.
Giuliani, in the campaign statement, claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined… We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud…”
Barr said: “Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. … And those have been run down; they are being run down. Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on.”
With Barr’s statement, will Trump buckle down and eventually submit to the result of the elections before January 20, 2021?
(Elpidio R. Estioko was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and an award-winning journalist here in the US. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at email@example.com).