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AG Barr tells Jan. 6 committee claims of rigged election 'idiotic'

Bennie Thompson, Adam Schiff
Posted at 7:41 AM, Jun 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-13 15:05:21-04

A House committee looking into the Capitol insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021, and the events leading up to the attack held its second of eight public meetings on Monday, airing taped testimony from several allies of President Donald Trump suggesting Trump was well aware of claims of a rigged election were false.

Among those scheduled to speak was Trump's 2020 election manager Bill Stepien.Stepien, however, was unable to attend Monday's hearing as his wife went into his labor, his attorney told reporters.

Instead, the committee replayed taped testimony from Stepien. Stepien said he advised Trump not to declare victory in the hours after the election and instead tell supporters that votes were still being counted.

"He thought I was wrong; he told me so. He was going to go in a different direction," Stepien said.

During the Monday hearing, the committee replayed taped testimony from William Barr, the U.S. attorney general who served in the Trump administration during the 2020 election. Barr said he informed Trump multiple times claims of a rigged election were false.

"There was an avalanche of all these allegations of fraud...and it was like playing whack-a-mole," he said. "All the early claims that I understood were completely bogus and silly and usually based on complete misinformation."

Barr said some allegations made their way to Trump, but Barr saw no evidence the claims were valid.

"He has become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff," he said.

Committee members say they have uncovered enough evidence for the Justice Department to consider a criminal indictment against the former president. No president or ex-president has ever been indicted.

Trump has denied all wrongdoing.

"I would like to see the Justice Department investigate any credible allegation of criminal activity on the part of Donald Trump or anyone else," Rep. Adam Schiff, a committee member, told ABC News. "The rule of law needs to apply equally to everyone. And there are certain actions, parts of these different lines of effort to overturn the election, that I don't see evidence the Justice Department is investigating.”

The committee laid the groundwork last Thursday in a rare prime-time hearing that included clips from some Trump allies contradicting his claims of a rigged election. The first of eight hearings also included testimony from a filmmaker embedded with insurrectionists and a police officer who was on hand during the attack.

Chris Stirewalt, former Fox political editor; Benjamin Ginsberg, election attorney; BJay Pak, former US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia and Al Schmidt, former Philadelphia City Commissioner, also provided testimony on Monday.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.