Attorney General William Barr was seen entering the White House shortly after telling the Associated Press the Justice Department has found no evidence of the widespread voter fraud that Donald Trump and his legal team have alleged.
“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 wire service, also referring to the Department of Homeland Security.
The top Senate Democrat, with a wide smile, pounced on the attorney general’s comment as he noted others in the Trump administration who have spoken in contradiction to the president’s talk of a “rigged” election have been ousted.
"I guess he's the next one to be fired," Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters.
Mr Trump claimed earlier in the day his camp has located “truckloads” of illegal votes for President-elect Joe Biden. His camp, however, has yet to reveal any evidence of voter fraud.
That has been pointed out by multiple federal judges, including ones appointed by Mr Trump and other Republican presidents. Those and other judges have tossed dozens of Trump team lawsuits, which do not actually allege voter fraud.
Still, ever ones – like their client – to punch back, two of the president’s legal team members quickly blasted Mr Barr.
“There hasn’t been any semblance of a Department of Justice investigation. We have gathered 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. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” Trump lawyers Rudolph Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said in a statement.
“Nonetheless, we will continue our pursuit of the truth through the judicial system and state legislatures, and continue toward the Constitution’s mandate and ensuring that every legal vote is counted and every illegal vote is not," the duo added. "Again, with the greatest respect to the Attorney General, his opinion appears to be without any knowledge or investigation of the substantial irregularities and evidence of systemic fraud.”
Attorneys general routinely visit the West Wing for long-planned meetings on any number of topics. A White House spokeswoman had not responded to a request for comment on why Mr Barr is there on Tuesday afternoon. A Justice Department spokeswoman provided this explanation: "He is at the White House for a previously scheduled meeting."
Mr Barr has been one of the president’s top loyalists, enacting a number of hardline policies since taking over at DOJ.
But he has sometimes frustrated Mr Trump, who earlier this year refused to say whether he would bring the AG back if he won a second term.
One such instance came when Mr Barr made a public cry for his boss to stop tweeting about Justice business – specifically the former case involving the president’s longtime friend, Roger Stone.
“I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody … whether it’s Congress, newspaper editorial boards, or the president," Mr Barr told ABC News in February. "I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”
The president later commuted the sentence of Mr Stone, who was convicted of lying to federal authorities.