Attorney General William Barr refused to be derailed during a testy Wednesday afternoon exchange with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer over mail-in voting.
Blitzer and Barr clashed several times on the topic — which has become a regular sticking point as the United States rapidly approaches the first general election since the coronavirus pandemic struck — during a segment of “The Situation Room.”
Blitzer began by quoting President Donald Trump, saying that he had appeared to encourage North Carolina residents to vote twice — once by mail and once in person — and then let the system sort things out.
“Well, I don’t know exactly what he was saying,” Barr replied. “But it seems to me what he’s saying is he’s trying to make the point that the ability to monitor this system is not good and if it was so good, if you tried to vote a second time, you would be caught if you voted in-person.”
Blitzer pushed back, saying that it was illegal to vote twice. “Is there any state that says you can vote twice?”
“There are some that maybe you can change your vote up to a particular term, I don’t know what the law is, so I’m not going to offer —” Barr said as Blitzer continued to talk over him.
“That’s not what he was saying, he was saying test the system —” Blitzer insisted.
“Why are you asking me what he was saying?” Barr asked.
Blitzer replied that President Trump didn’t “believe in the mail-in voting” and had said it would be rife with fraud if it were rapidly expanded to accommodate the 2020 general election.
“Wolf, this is sort of cheap talk to get around the fundamental problem, which is the bipartisan commission chaired by Jimmy Carter and James Baker said back in 2009 that mail-in voting is fraught with the risk of fraud and coercion. Let me talk,” Barr said as Blitzer began to interrupt.
Barr went on to say that widespread mail-in voting had always been panned as an opportunity for fraud and coercion, adding, “The only time the narrative changed is after this administration came in … Do you think that’s a way to run a vote?”
“The only thing I’m saying is that so far we haven’t seen widespread fraud —” Blitzer protested.
“So far we haven’t tried it,” Barr shot back.
Blitzer noted that several states have used mail-in voting with some degree of success, but Barr did not appear to be convinced.
“This is playing with fire. We’re a very closely divided country here,” Barr replied. “And if people have to have confidence in the results of the election and the legitimacy of the government, and people trying to change the rules to this methodology, which, as a matter of logic, is very open to fraud and coercion, is reckless and dangerous. And people are playing with fire.”
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.