White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany declined to say that Donald Trump still has confidence in William Barr a day after the attorney general said the Justice Department has found no evidence of the widespread voter fraud the president claims cost him a second term.
Mr Trump’s top spokesperson stopped short of giving the AG a vote of confidence a day after he signaled the Justice Department does not plan to pursue any criminal charges over the president’s allegations of a Democratic conspiracy to tip the balance in a handful of states he lost to President-elect Joe Biden.
“There’s been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that,” Mr Barr told the Associated Press, also referring to the Department of Homeland Security.
Justice officials have received complaints about some shenanigans – just as they do every cycle.
"Voter fraud claims that had been submitted to the country’s top law enforcement department were “very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct,” Mr Barr told the wire service.
“They are not systemic allegations. And those have been run down; they are being run down,” the AG said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. … They have been followed up on.”
Mr Barr left the White House just after 5pm on Tuesday. He arrived two-and-a-half hours prior for what a spokeswoman said was a pre-scheduled meeting, not a presidential summons to discuss his lack of widespread voter fraud claims. Officials declined comment on whether he and his boss discussed the AP interview, keeping the never-ending-Trump-era palace intrigue alive.
He was there for a meeting with Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Ms McEnany said on Wednesday. The duo discussed “an array” of issues, she said, adding she was not in the know on whether they discussed Mr Barr’s voter fraud comments.
She also claimed to be “not aware” of any Tuesday meeting between the president and his hand-picked AG, nor of any conversation on Wednesday.
Mr Barr’s remark lit Washington on fire with speculation Mr Trump might, as he has in recent weeks, remove Mr Barr for contradicting him on his “rigged” election claims.
"I guess he's the next one to be fired," Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters on Tuesday.