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Is former AG Barr right?

Is former AG Barr right?

In taking a deep dive into all the issues surrounding the 2020 presidential election, I believe former Attorney General William Barr may have it right.  That is a “may.”

Before getting into the “why” he may be correct, it is necessary to have a little background.  For many years, Barr has been one of the most respected conservative attorneys in the nation. He has been loyal to the law as the framers of the Constitution intended.

Barr was even respected by rational folks on the left.  That is until President Trump named him his Attorney General.  Barr was immediately attacked by the never-Trump Resistance Movement folks, who had previously declared their intentions to never … never … never approve of anything Trump said or did.  They did not want to – as they coined it – “normalize” Trump.  And … the plan was to malign anyone who says or does anything positive about Trump.

Barr ran further afoul of the Democrats and the left-leaning media when he defended the constitutional powers of a President of the United States – in this case, President Trump.  During his tenure as Attorney General, Barr was under a constant barrage of attacks from the left for his legal opinions on presidential powers.  Suddenly, he was a pariah in the eyes of the Washington old guard establishment.

In December of 2020, the perception of Barr took another switch in direction – like a weathervane in a storm.  That is when he told Trump and the world that the Department of Justice found insufficient evidence of vote fraud to flip the announced results of the election.  He had no reason to say that unless he believed it.  Barr’s every political and legal impulse would be to challenge the elections if he saw sufficient grounds.  

Instantly, the winds of wrath came from the White House, while those on the left found Barr to again be a praiseworthy Attorney General.  Under pressure from Trump to change his opinion, Barr resigned. 

If Trump believed he could get the change he requested from Barr’s successor, he was badly mistaken.  Trump even considered another change at the top of the DOJ.  But even the suggestion resulted in threats of mass resignations – including Trump’s White House counsel.  No one at the DOJ saw sufficient prosecutable election fraud that would change the outcome of the 2020 election.

The issue came up again when the video of Barr’s deposition was made public.  He yet again said that he had – on at least two occasions – told Trump that there was nothing there in terms of enough voter fraud to flip the election.  He called Trump’s contention, “bullshit.”

Trump’s own daughter Ivanka – in her deposition – said that she believed Barr – at least at the time.  Since the Select Committee did not release her entire deposition, we do not know if that statement was ever qualified.

While I have never expressed my opinion about the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the election results – mainly because I do not think the debate serves the interests of conservatives at this point.    It is Democrats and the media that benefit by keeping Trump and the controversy going. I prefer to deal with issues in the future that will influence the future election.  

On the other hand, I do not buy into the left’s claim that there was no fraud in the 2020 election.  That is the kind of lie despots like Putin, Xi and Kim tell.  I favor pursuing vote fraud where it is seen – even if it will not change the popular or electoral votes.  I think the elections reforms sweeping the nation are prudent preventative measures.

I trust Barr.  He has no reason to lie.  But his belief about the outcome is not the most important opinion Barr expressed recently.  And I think he is correct about it, too.

In an interview with Bret Baier on FOX News, Barr said that despite all the accusations and armchair lawyering on the left, he does not believe Trump committed any prosecutable crimes.  Allow me to repeat.  In his professional judgment, Barr does not believe Trump committed a crime.

I tend to agree.  In fact, in previous commentaries, I have said that much of Trump’s attempt to overturn the election results was perfectly legal – recounts, court cases, and charges of specific irregularities.  Even many of the more extreme and untraditional activities were legal – such as calling on state legislators to replace the electors.  Yes, they have that power according to the Constitution.

Of course, you can call Trump’s last-minute activity extreme … shameful … obnoxious.  I do.  What we saw in January of 2021 was bad Trump – the ego-driven pugnacious Trump.  His attack on Barr and even his daughter was sadly typical of a man who is the center of his own universe.  But the standards and requirements of American justice do not change because a person is unlikeable.  That would be real tyranny – and a real threat to the Republic.  But it seems that is what Democrats and those on the left want.

So … did Trump break any laws?  Or did those around him?  I do not know.  We will find out later.  But I give Barr’s opinion high credibility.  Bad behavior is not a crime.  Even lying is not a crime – or Congress would be meeting in an alternative federal facility.

I think that is why even the Democrats are playing coy.   They brashly declare in the court-of-public opinion that Trump is guilty as hell – and then more quietly suggest that he may not get prosecuted by Attorney General Merrick Garland because the threshold is much higher in the real justice system than it is in the political world.

But there is also a political consideration.  Dragging a former President of the United States into court can be dangerous. According to MSNBC’s left-wing legal contributor Barbara McQuade, such an action “will very likely spark civil unrest, and maybe even civil war.”

She went on to say, “I think not charging is even worse.”  Whoa!  Worse than a civil war?  And she gets paid for this kind of nutty analysis?  Of course, McQuade is presuming guilt – contrary to America’s jurisprudence.

I have looked deeply into the various accusations of fraud and irregularities – and still will not say with confidence that the election was stolen – or not stolen.  But I do take Barr’s opinion seriously.  It does not take me to a firm conclusion, but it certainly tips the scale.

But again … that is about Trump and the past.  We need to stay focused on the now and the future – and the 2022 election.  Trump is not on the ballot, so the issues surrounding him are a side-show. Paying attention to his endorsements is okay but letting the political stagecraft over the 2020 election influence voting in November is a parlor game we should not be playing.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Frank stetson

    Barr was bribed

  2. frank stetson

    This is not the real frank stetson

  3. frank stetson

    Uh oh, if I was managing the “Larry situation,” I would say we have an indication that “the camel’s head is in the tent.” :>) How close to disowning Trump might we be? (yes, I know, you hate the personality, love the policies… it chief.)

    I liked your piece. I think you are listening, getting there, and hopefully soon we can all just move on.

    “Since the Select Committee did not release her entire deposition, we do not know if that statement was ever qualified.” This is true. But if you thought about the entire truth, you might have added, “Ivanka did not release any rebuttal to her public display regarding the entire deposition and the context of these statements given, under oath, under penalty of law.

    I did like the pundit comment in The New Yorker about Eric going for her bedroom at Mara Loser.

    ” We need to stay focused” Is that Larry’s way of saying he’s being very political about all this?

    You left out the plethora of Trump advisors, like Jason Miller, lawyer Alex Cannon, advising him that the election was lost, fair and square. It’s not just Ivanka and Jared, both of whom have distanced themselves from the affair. After all, Jared has his Israeli Peace cum $2B Arab seed money project he proffered from the Presidency to worry about. His “whining” will be priceless :>)

    I mean The Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, garage meeting the night before 1.6, combined with The Proud Boys being documented descending on multiple access points at the Capitol BEFORE Trump unleashed the Kraken crowd to march on the Capitol, doesn’t that seem to indicate that the riot was not organic, but planned and orchestrated ahead of time? Doesn’t that alone beg for further investigation to see how far that went and who might have participated, aka — Willard Hotel? Why do you need a war room for a rally? Much less full of “those folks,” not exactly rally planners?

    Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley saying Vice President Mike Pence was being direct and wanting the military’s help at the Capitol. The response from the White House, on the other hand, was very different. Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Milley said, wanted instead to shape a “narrative” that Trump was in control. Milley said that reeked of “politics, politics, politics,” and it was a “red flag”;

    Cheney said Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and “multiple other Republican congressmen” sought “presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election”;

    The $250M that Trump raised on The Big Lie monetarizing a lie, a grift, and then used to finance his lifestyle? To me, that’s the sign post the true Republicans need to address — the Trumplicants advancing Trumpism to the ruination of your party. Time to put the snake back under the rock. And then we can better focus on the far left :>)

    I think you realize that, like the Proud Boys at the Capitol, what we have seen so far is just the tip of the spear with the Select Committee results. They are also releasing stuff on their website, around the barn, that is further damning. Might be the John Dean moment: It’s not so much the information as it is the medium — they are matching Trump’s instant messaging tweets with their own instant messaging website —- the Eastman moment as told by Trump White House attorney Eric Herschmann, the guy who saved Trump from impeachment telling Eastman to “get a fucking criminal attorney” for what he and Trump were doing. Eastman may be going to jail. But it’s the medium that may be deadly to Trump and Republicans — this stuff went viral in nanoseconds. Third times a charm and this time the Select Committee seems to be masters of the messaging mediums and they are bearing in.

    But here’s where we once again agree, once again perhaps for different reasons. Taking Trump to court is a very bad idea IMO if, for no other reason, than lowering the chance at some sort of unity for the country that Trump has helped, massively, to divide with his lies. Civil war, doubtful, the information is too compelling, but certainly uncomfortable and unproductive. Why? It’s bad for the Presidency, it’s bad for the Country, it’s bad for Democracy. I agree, let’s just be done with it. Problem is we are hell bent on a path of heading to court. The pressure on Garland to try will be significant. That’s where we are, who cares about the truth, we need to care about the country.
    Larry, your side screwed the pooch miserably on this one. They should have had the balls to tell him they had the votes to impeach, get him to resign, and he could go live the rest of his miserable life in shame or in Florida or beyond. That would have been a solution that would have already put you in the place you want to be: “to stay focused on the now and the future – and the 2022 election. Trump is not on the ballot.” We would have been content, probably pardoned him ala Nixon, and buried the rest.

    Instead, we are here. I do not want to go to court but fear we are already on that sleighride to hell. IMO, Republicans should quickly work with Democrats, impeach the son of a bitch, end the Congressional investigations, let the DOJ know we don’t care to proceed, he will never be able to run again satisfying Dems, he is out of your hair making your political life better at this point, and we can all put this behind us and move forward. Just my opinion on how to get out of this quickly, get over it slowly, and get going on what’s important —- working together, compromising, getting stuff done for America.

  4. frank stetson

    Also, on election fraud, everyone is against it. It always happens, if for no other reason, the administration of some many votes. But in the 2020 election, there is NO WAY it will ever be significant enough to overturn the election based on the evidence, the history of voter fraud, and the results of your 60 court cases, half dozen recounts, etc.

    Your new voter fraud laws often are restrictive to lower incomes and minorities. That’s as bad as voter fraud. We need a national consensus to set a baseline here that’s fair for all, unfair to none.

    So, like many Democrats, I agree on paper to the concept of ending voter fraud, disagree with the Trumplicant voter laws being passed, and agree with you that The Big Lie is aptly named.

  5. Ray

    What about “2000 Mules”?

  6. Mike

    The election was rampant with fraud. Ballot harvesting clouded the ballot stuffing that had taken place. Barr was jaded by all the absurd claims of fraud that had been made. To get some normalcy back he provided an opinion based on historical findings. However, 2020 was anything but normal. Setting aside the “bullshit” comment, look at exactly what he said. “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.” That does not say it did not exist. Only that it was not found. Critical thinking says the swing states results fell “outside of control limits” It will take 2-3 years to uncover just a small portion of the fraud. So, let Trump relitigate this ad nauseum in 2022. It will only improve our broken elections and some arbitrary level of fraud that we have complacently accepted.

  7. Tony Bell

    When Barr claimed the “2000 Mules” was not credible he showed his true colors. In the documentary it clearly stated that the legal system often used the very same technique to track criminals and convict criminality. For Barr to claim otherwise raises concerns of his credibility.

    • frank stetson

      Well as long as they clearly stated it, it must be true…..

      Except most experts say — it’s a nothing burger.

      I’d like to say Barr is a real patriot and stand-up guy, but after the Mueller letter, that dog don’t hunt.

      Larry may have illuminated me on that one via his “constitutional powers of the President,” re the famous summary letter, but to use Larry’s cya —– that’s a may :>)

      Yes, Larry, I do listen to you upon occasion.

  8. Daniel V Coltea

    No justice , No peace. This is what the BLM slogan is. This slogan must be applied to ALL. When you have a judge telling you that you can not be heard because what you are saying did not happened yet, and after it happened you are told that it is too late, we have an UNJUSTICE, so No peace. The Biden administration did not allow the Republicans selected to be part of the J6. You have No Justice , so No Peace. You have selected just some of the participants at the J6 demonstration, just the ones that will sing your tune. No Justice, No peace. And these are only some of the things that can easy fall under “No Justice, No Peace”. Larry, from what I see it here in your article, you can not end your points anymore, or at least on this issue with ” So, there “tis” because it is not.

  9. Robert D Head

    blah….blah…blah….whether you like or hate Trump it is very clear that Democrats and their sycophants stole the 2020 election. 2000 Mules is all you need to see to make that case….and it’s easy to extrapolate from there that the cheating was much worse than just through the 2000 criminals engaged in the ballot trafficking schemes. Just the way the Biden Administration, the fake news outlets, Hollywood, big tech/media, and the voting machine vendors have done everything they can to stigmatize and shut down any discussion or real investigation into even just the potential of a massive election fraud is a very real form of “proof”. If it didn’t happen then why the all out effort to stop any legitimate effort to look into it? This is no different than the laughable and obvious double standard when it comes to the totally ignored damage and destruction caused by BLM and Antifa during the summer of 2020 (move on…nothing to see here but peaceful protesting) when compared to Nancy Pelosi’s sham January 6th committee and hearings. Due to these massive election fraud suppression efforts, a whole lot remains unexplained and unexamined because of the roadblocks and lies put out there by operatives of the Democrat Party. If you think that is how life should be in a representative republic that used to actually stand strong for the rule of law then please move to Venezuela or China so you can see that this is exactly how it works in a totalitarian regime….like the one America is rapidly devolving into.

    • Elvis

      If it happens again January 6 ( day of patriots) will be nothing compared to what’s coming.

    • Ben

      Ask yourself this: given Trump raised $2.5M from you….folks… post the election in support of The Big Lie
      Given The Big Liar has access to this, and access to GOP funds

      then, in the simplest terms: If 2000 mules is THE SMOKING GUN, then why aren’t you in court proving your point. Why are you baying at the moon instead of going to court and putting criminals in jail.



      your answer is “because the courts are proven fake probably controlled by Biden”


      all is lost. We have no Republic.

      Take it to court or STFU. It’s a nothing burger. Like The Big Liar pushing The Big Lie, the guy is ripping you off. Follow the money.

      • Noah

        It’s you democrat assholes that is living a lie