Bill Barr Dodges When Confronted on Trump Encouraging Supporters to Illegally Vote Twice: ‘I Don’t Know’ What State Law Says
The Attorney General of the United States professed ignorance about the legality of attempting to vote twice in any election, after he was confronted with comments made just minutes earlier by President Donald Trump encouraging exactly that.
During an interview with Wolf Blitzer, AG Bill Barr seemed clearly taken aback when the CNN host read off a quote from Trump on Wednesday afternoon that urged his supporters to try to vote first by mail and then in-person to test “the system.” Voting twice is a felony and the penalties can be stiff — a New Hampshire man who intentionally voted twice in the 2018 midterms was fined $1,000 and had his right to vote permanently revoked.
When Blitzer asked for his reaction, Barr demurred and had the CNN host read the quote a second time.
“So let them send it in, the vote by mail, the voting by mail,” Blitzer said, quoting the president. “And let them go vote the ballot, let them send in the ballot, and then let them go vote, and if the system is as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote.”
“It sounds like he’s encouraging people to break the law and try to vote twice,” Blitzer observed.
“Well, I don’t know exactly what he was saying,” Barr offered about Trump’s unquestionably clear statement. “But it seems to me what he’s saying is he’s trying to make the point that the ability to monitor this system is not good and if it was so good, if you tried to vote a second time, you would be caught if you voted in-person.”
“That would be illegal if somebody mailed in a ballot and then actually showed up to vote in person. That would be illegal,” Blitzer noted about the president all but suborning a felony by his supporters.
“I don’t know what the law in the particular state says,” the attorney general responded.
“You can’t vote twice,” Blitzer pointed out.
“I don’t know what the law in that particular state says,” Barr dodged again.
“Is there any state that says you can vote twice?” Blitzer said, trying another tack.
“There are some that maybe you can change your vote up to a particular term,” Barr said, before quickly hitting back at Blitzer for ambushing him. “Why are you asking me what he’s saying?”
“He doesn’t believe in mail-in voting and you’re the Attorney General of the United States,” Blitzer reminded the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.
“Wolf, this is sort of cheap talk to get around the fundamental problem,” Barr said, switching gears and going on the offense. “The bipartisan commission chaired by Jimmy Carter and James Baker said back in 2009 that mail-in voting is fraught with the risk of fraud and coercion.”
In fact, Carter came out strongly in favor of mail-in voting this past May as the coronavirus pandemic raged across the country, citing numerous voting security safeguards that have been put in place since his initial study. “I urge political leaders across the country to take immediate steps to expand vote-by-mail and other measures that can help protect the core of American democracy,” Carter said in a statement.
As Blizter began to ask another question, Barr shut him down: “Let me talk.” Barr then offered more claims that mail-in voting is susceptible to fraud before admonishing the CNN anchor: “Do you think that’s a way to run a vote?”
“The only thing I’m saying is that so far we haven’t seen widespread fraud,” Blitzer noted correctly.
“So far we haven’t tried it.”
“There are several states that only have mail-in voting,” Blitzer countered.
“This is playing with fire,” Barr shot back, not addressing Blitzer’s salient point. “We’re a very closely divided country here. And if people have to have confidence in the results of the election and the legitimacy of the government, and people trying to change the rules to this methodology, which, as a matter of logic, is very open to fraud and coercion, is reckless and dangerous. And people are playing with fire.”
“I will point out there are five states that only have mail-in voting including Utah and Colorado, Washington state.”
Watch the video above, via CNN.
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org