Former Pennsylvania US attorney, William McSwain, wrote in a letter to Donald Trump on June 9th that Barr did not let him pursue an investigation into the November 2020 election.
IT WAS JUST TO HOLD A PRESSER
A former Justice Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to The Washington Post, said McSwain had wanted to hold a news conference after Election Day decrying broad “irregularities.” Justice Department officials, including Barr, were opposed, saying it was the agency’s role to investigate allegations of fraud, not double-check how elections are administered.
BARR SAID MCSWAIN WANTED TO STAVE OFF ATTACKS BY TRUMP
In an interview, Barr disputed McSwain’s characterizations of his actions and said McSwain told him he wrote the letter in a bid to win Trump’s endorsement — or at least stave off attacks.
“Any suggestion that McSwain was told to stand down from investigating allegations of election fraud is false. It’s just false,” Barr said, adding that the assertions “appeared to have been made to mollify President Trump to gain his support for McSwain’s planned run for governor.”
Barr said he called McSwain on Monday to complain about the letter, which he heard about before it became public. McSwain defended his missive as technically accurate while asserting WaPo wrote, “I can’t have Trump attacking me,” Barr said. McSwain, he added, told him that “he was in a tough spot because he wanted to run and he needed Trump’s at least neutrality, if not support.”
MCSWAIN SAYS THAT’S NOT TRUE
McSwain disputed Barr’s description of their discussion, saying in an interview that his motive for writing the letter “is that I believe in transparency. The more people who know the facts, the better.”
In other words, McSwain said Barr lied.
Barr said McSwain told him in their phone call that his reference to a “directive” involved a single matter having to do with “allegations of irregularities” in Delaware County, Pa., and that the directive came in a conversation with Richard Donoghue, a senior Justice Department official.
“Donoghue never suggested to McSwain he stand down from any investigation into fraud,” Barr countered
In a text message, Donoghue backed Barr’s version of events. “While I was made aware of allegations relating to conduct in Delaware County, I did not preclude DOJ personnel in Pennsylvania from investigating allegations of criminal misconduct relating to the 2020 elections or direct that any such allegations be handled exclusively by state authorities,” he wrote.
MCSWAIN SAID BARR TOLD HIM DIRECTLY
McSwain said Tuesday that Barr told him “directly on the phone” not to speak publicly about possible election irregularities. He stood by his assertion that Barr and his staff told him to pass along voter-fraud allegations to the state attorney general’s office.
“If Attorney General Barr is claiming that I was not told to make referrals to the state attorney general’s office, I assume he is simply not remembering what happened or that he wasn’t always involved in the details,” McSwain said. “As a prosecutor, all I wanted was the freedom to follow the evidence where it leads.”
THEN THERE’S THIS
Tony Shaffer told me that Bill Barr called him personally and asked him to stop investigating 2020 election fraud.
Have you ever heard of an AG calling a private citizen and asking them to quit looking into something?!
— Chase Geiser (@realchasegeiser) May 28, 2021