President Trump’s Dismissal of Bill Barr’s Warnings Cost Him Presidency, Book Claims
19:07 GMT 17.09.2021 (Updated: 13:24 GMT 06.08.2022)
© AP Photo / Alex BrandonIn this March 23, 2020 file photo, President Donald Trump talks during a briefing about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room, Monday, March 23, 2020, in Washington, as Attorney General William Barr looks on.
© AP Photo / Alex Brandon
According to the upcoming bombshell book 'Peril,' in the early months of 2020, US Attorney General for the Trump administration Bill Barr warned President Donald Trump to rein in his behavior to maximize his chances of winning a second term.
In excerpts from Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s book “Peril,” set to be released September 21, Barr supposedly told President Trump that independent voters thought he was a “f****** a******” and that “he was his own worst enemy” ahead of the 2020 US presidential election.
In a particularly prudent quote from Barr, “This election is about the suburbs. You know you're going to bring in your base and you don't gain anything by continuing to be more and more outrageous,” he said.
At the time, Trump was losing ground in national polls over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the stifling economy. Barr highlighting the suburbs as being the key to the 2020 election proved to be spot-on analysis.
A report from the Brookings Institute shows that Trump went from having a 1.6 million vote advantage in 2016 in suburban areas to facing a 613,000 deficit to Joe Biden in 2020. The 2.2 million vote swing was enough for Biden to take crucial swing states and win the election. Trump, much like Barr had foretold, kept an identical edge in rural areas and actually improved slightly in urban centers, although Biden still won those areas resoundingly.
Barr’s pleas to Trump in early 2020 proved to be prescient. Trump’s most fervent supporters had turned out in mass, but moderate Republicans and independent voters who had grown tired of his petty grievances but generally liked his policies did not.
Barr went as far as to say “Your base cares about seeing (former FBI director James Comey) and the rest of those guys held accountable, but these other people don't” in reference to independents and moderate Republicans.
The rift between the two only continued to grow after Trump lost the 2020 election. In the aftermath of his defeat, Trump began to push the idea of widespread voter fraud. Barr pushed back on that notion saying they were “all b*******,” and placed particular emphasis on the allegations that there were irregularities with voting machines.
Barr wasn’t solely being defiant with Trump. He wanted Trump to have the strongest legal claim to voter fraud allegations, and he knew the voting machine allegations were unlikely to hold up in a court of law. He went as far as to say that Trump wasted nearly a month “on the one theory that is demonstrably crazy, which is these machines.”
Barr pressed Trump to take on a legal strategy centered around “a team of crackerjack lawyers ready to go who could quickly formulate a strategy that would actually be able to say: ‘We're going for these votes here, these votes here, and here's our argument here’ and execute.”
He felt that Trump’s hiring of Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell to push conspiracy theories was the wrong move, claiming that Trump’s team was “a bunch of clowns.” In retrospect, most of Barr’s pleas to Trump seem to be well-founded. The conspiratorial voter fraud claims never materialized into serious legal challenges, and Giuliani continued to find himself the subject of ridicule.
Barr, not even two full months after Trump’s defeat, would resign. The rift between him and the President had apparently reached a fever point. In retrospect, the deterioration in Barr and Trump’s relationship appears to have grown out of his commitment to advance Trump’s agenda. The only problem was that what Barr was selling, Trump wasn’t buying, and it likely cost him the White House.