Trump has become ‘detached from reality’, says former justice chief

WASHINGTON: Donald Trump flooded his aides with conspiracy theories about voter fraud after losing the 2020 U.S. election, his top law enforcement official said in testimony revealed yesterday (June 13) by a congressional investigation which the ex-president called a “travesty of justice”. ”

The House panel investigating the US Capitol riot is holding its second public hearing in Washington yesterday (June 13). Photo: Jabin Botsford SWIMMING POOL/AFP

Appearing in pre-recorded deposition at a congressional hearing into the 2021 assault on the US Capitol, former attorney general Bill Barr described his then-boss as having no interest in the facts that debunked his baseless story.

“I was demoralized because I was thinking, boy…he’s detached from reality if he really believes this stuff,” Barr told the House committee investigating the 6th insurrection. January by Trump supporters.

“When I went in there and told him how crazy some of these allegations were, there was never any indication of interest in the actual facts,” said Barr, who compared dealing with Trump’s avalanche of false claims with the “whack-a-mole” game.

The panel is holding six hearings throughout June to lay out its argument that the riot at US Democracy Headquarters in Washington was the culmination of a seven-step plot by Trump and his entourage to undo his defeat against Joe Biden.

Trump ignored repeated warnings from top aides against the false claim that the November 2020 election was stolen, according to testimony released by the panel.

“We will tell the story of how Donald Trump lost the election – and knew he had lost the election – and in the wake of his defeat decided to launch an attack on our democracy,” the president said. committee Democrat, Bennie Thompson, in his opening remarks. .

Trump released his first extended reaction to the investigation last night, with a rambling 12-page statement in which he called the panel a “mockery of justice” and a “kangaroo court in hopes of distracting the American people from the great pain he suffered. ”

The second of six scheduled hearings showed video accounts of the former president’s advisers, including Barr and campaign manager Bill Stepien, saying they repeatedly advised him not to declare victory on election night because he hadn’t won — but Trump went ahead anyway.

“He thought I was wrong, he told me that, and they were going to go in a different direction,” Stepien said.

Distant Conspiracies »

Thompson’s deputy on the panel, Republican lawmaker Liz Cheney, said Trump chose to listen to the advice of ‘apparently drunk’ former New York Mayor ‘Rudy Giuliani’ to simply claim he had won. and insist that the vote count stop – to falsely claim that everything was fraudulent.”

Trump began pushing what became known as his “big lie” around 2:30 a.m. on Nov. 4, 2020, prematurely declaring victory on election night that he ultimately lost to Biden by seven million voice.

Barr said in his testimony that Trump claimed major fraud “right out of the box on election night … before there was actually a chance to review evidence.”

Giuliani and his associates, including attorney Sidney Powell, would go on to push debunked theories of massive voter fraud that put them at odds with White House lawyers Stepien called “Team Normal.”

Cheney highlighted “remote conspiracies” – called “nonsense” by Barr – of fraud involving voting machines “with a deceased Venezuelan communist allegedly pulling the strings”.

Trump repeated a number of unsubstantiated claims in his statement last night.

“Democrats created the January 6 narrativee to distract from the much bigger and more important truth that the 2020 election was rigged and stolen,” he said.

big scam

The committee says the initial allegation of fraud quickly turned into a plot to cling to power by Trump and his inner circle – and a fundraising campaign that raised $250 million (8.7 billion baht) between election night and the Capitol insurrection.

The committee’s lead investigative attorney, Amanda Wick, said much of the money went to a political action committee that donated to pro-Trump organizations.

“As early as April 2020, Mr. Trump said the only way to lose an election would be through fraud,” said Zoe Lofgren, a Democratic panelist.

“The big lie was also a big scam,” she said, promising to show how the Trump campaign raised hundreds of millions of dollars from supporters who were falsely tricked into believing their donations would be used for the legal fight against allegations of fraud.

All but one of the 62 lawsuits brought by the Trump campaign were dismissed – the vast majority by Republican-appointed judges – while the one that was upheld did not affect the outcome.

Powell filed four federal lawsuits in staunchly Democratic cities that were all dismissed as frivolous, and in Detroit a judge ordered that she face penalties for a “historic and profound abuse of the judicial process.”

The panel ended the hearing by returning to the Capitol riot, showing footage of crowd attendees explaining how Trump’s voter fraud allegations motivated their actions.

“I know exactly what is happening right now. Fake election,” said one.

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