U.S. President Donald Trump's quixotic bid to overturn the result of the 2020 election hit another snag on Dec. 2 (Singapore time), after his own appointed Attorney-General, William Barr, said that he has not yet seen any evidence of widespread voter fraud.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Barr said that despite U.S. attorneys and FBI agents following up on specific complaints, "to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election".
Barr was nominated by Trump to head the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2018 after firing the previous Attorney-General Jeff Sessions, who was a Republican Senator.
Barr, who previously served as Attorney-General under President George H. W. Bush, was then confirmed by the Senate.
However, according to the Washington Post, "voter fraud is so rare in the United States, researchers describe it as a statistical blip whether the ballots are cast in-person or by mail".
Barr criticised by Trump's lawyers
Barr's comments that the DOJ has not found evidence of fraud that could have changed the election result drew a swift response from members of Trump's legal team.
Trump's lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said in a statement, according to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman:
"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."
Barr visited the White House for a previously scheduled meeting, while Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer quipped, "I guess he's the next one to be fired," according to AP.
U.S. Justice Department investigated alleged "bribery-for-pardon" scheme connected to the White House
Meanwhile, an unsealed court document revealed that the DOJ investigated a possible "bribery-for-pardon" scheme in August 2020, according to the Washington Post.
This allegedly involved offering a large political contribution, in exchange for a presidential pardon.
The document can be seen here, although it has been redacted.
"The documents show that U.S. prosecutors were scrutinising whether two individuals approached senior White House officials as unregistered lobbyists, and a related scheme in which cash would be funnelled through intermediaries for a pardon or reprieve of a sentence for a defendant apparently in Federal Bureau of Prisons custody at some point. The status of the investigation is unclear."
According to the Washington Post, citing an anonymous DOJ official, "No government official was or is currently a subject or target of the investigation disclosed in this filing.
The Post added that federal bribery crimes typically must be charged within five years of their commission, a timeframe which mostly covers Trump's time in office, but also includes the latter part of the Obama administration.
The White House had no comment.
Top image by Drew Angerer via Getty Images.