Barr says no basis for special counsel to investigate election, no federal authority to seize voting machines
Attorney General William Barr said Monday he had seen no reason for a special adviser to investigate possible fraud in the November elections, contradicting an idea proposed by President Donald Trump.
Barr, who will step down on Wednesday, said: "If I thought special legal counsel was appropriate, I would name one and I haven't."
"I said there wasn't enough fraud to sway the election and I stand by it," he said, noting what he said in an AP interview just before informing Trump of his resignation during a White House meeting .
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Barr also said he did not intend to appoint a special lawyer to investigate President-elect Joe Biden's son, Hunter, while the President and others considered it.
PHOTO: Attorney General William Barr speaks during a press conference on December 21, 2020 at the Justice Department in Washington, DC (Michael Reynolds / Pool via AP)
Barr said he saw no basis for federal government seizures of voting machines in key states, as Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani has suggested.
He did not answer directly whether the President had authority to issue this order.
"I don't see any basis for the federal government machine seizure right now, you know, a large-scale federal government machine seizure," he said.
During a Friday meeting with Trump at the White House, according to a source, Guiliani, attorney Sydney Powell and retired General Michael Flynn discussed an executive order to confiscate and investigate voting machines across the country.
MORE: Sacked attorney Sidney Powell is back advising Trump to plan a scorched earth course
Trump invited Powell to consider the possibility of her being appointed a special adviser and receiving high-level security clearances to investigate the 2020 elections. The meeting was highly controversial, sources told ABC News, filled with shouts and demands from Powell, who called other Trump aides "slackers" for giving up the fight.
The meeting ended with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, White House attorney Pat Cipollone, and other Trump attorneys preventing the President from making the offer. Giuliani, who attended the meeting by phone, was also against the idea, according to sources.
Powell did not respond to ABC News' request for comment. She was also at the White House on Sunday, but the reason was unclear.
Barr's frank comments came while answering reporters' questions at an independent press conference.
The attorney general was also asked about the potential for a president to forgive himself and said he did not want to "comment on constitutional issues".
Barr was also asked about the SolarWinds cyber hack by key federal agencies and high profile private companies, and he agreed with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who attributed the hack to the Russians.
"It appears to be the Russians," Barr said, adding that he has no further comments to make.
Over the weekend, President Trump disagreed with Pompeo, suggesting that China could be responsible for the hack. He did not speak out against Russia.
"The cyber hack is far bigger in the fake news media than it is in reality. I have been well informed and everything is well under control. Russia, Russia, Russia is the primary chant if something happens because Lamestream has petrified for largely financial reasons of ... discussing the possibility that it could (it could be!) China, "wrote Trump on Twitter.
ABC News' John Santucci, Katherine Faulders, Matt Mosk, Olivia Rubin, and Alexander Mallin contributed to this report.
Barr says abcnews.go.com did not initially see a base for a special advisor to investigate elections, or a federal agency to seize voting machines
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