Donald Trump’s attorney general, William Barr, believed Trump might have refused to leave office if the Justice Department hadn’t immediately investigated and refuted the then-president’s lies about voter fraud during his his loss to Joe Biden.
“I’m not sure we would have had a transition at all,” Barr said, in startling video testimony released by the Jan. 6 committee during a hearing on Thursday.
The hearing, the fifth in a series expected to run through July, focused on Trump’s attempts to pressure the Justice Department to help him overturn the election result – an attempt which culminated in the deadly attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
The vice chair of the Jan. 6 committee, anti-Trump Republican congresswoman from Wyoming Liz Cheney, introduced Barr’s remarks.
She said: “Millions of Americans have seen Attorney General Barr’s testimony before this committee. At one point during his deposition, the former attorney general was asked why he authorized the Justice Department to investigate fraud in the 2020 election.”
Barr, Cheney said, “wondered why not just take the usual course of action and let the investigations take place much later, after Jan. 6,” the day the Electoral College results were certified on Capitol Hill. .
Barr said: “I thought the responsible thing to do was to be able to get an idea of whether or not there was fraud. Frankly, the fact that I put myself in the position that I could tell that we looked into this and didn’t think there was fraud was really important in moving things forward.
“I shudder to think of what the situation would have been if the department’s position was, ‘We won’t consider this until after Biden takes office.
“I’m not sure we would have had a transition at all.”
Barr dismissed Trump’s allegation of widespread voter fraud and resigned, resigning on December 14, 2020.
He was replaced as acting attorney general by Jeffrey Rosen. He testified Thursday alongside his deputy, Richard Donoghue, and Steven Engel, who headed the DoJ’s legal counsel office.
Barr has previously been shown to have described Trump’s voter fraud claims as “bullshit.”
He also previously said he would still vote for Trump if Trump ever ran for the White House again.