Chris Hayes on Friday night explained how the Department of Justice’s bungling moves this week exposed Attorney General Bill Barr’s plan to help Trump sabotage the 2020 election.
Said Hayes: “It is official now that the attorney general of the United States and the Department of Justice are colluding with the president and his campaign to sabotage the legitimacy of the election.”
“This has long been the fear of those of us who care about the fate of our democracy,” Hayes added. “Attorney General Barr has been telegraphing this is the play for a while now. He’s been going around lying about the rates of mail-in voter fraud, boosting the president’s dangerous and insidious false narrative. He even went so far as to tell a completely false inflammatory story about a supposed case of fraud in Texas which he later had to correct. But yesterday we saw the first instance of all the machinery working together. The president, his campaign, DOJ, even a local U.S. attorney all collaborating to essentially sow disinformation.”
The NYT reported earlier on Friday that “Attorney General William P. Barr personally briefed Mr. Trump this week” on a single case of nine military ballots in Pennsylvania that were allegedly discarded.
The NYT reports: “After Mr. Barr briefed him, Mr. Trump publicly referred to the discarded ballots in a radio interview on Thursday, which prompted questions from reporters and, eventually, the Justice Department’s release of details about the investigation. The disclosures helped feed the misleading narrative by the president and the attorney general that mail-in voting was rife with fraud. Around the time the Justice Department released the details on Thursday, White House and Trump campaign aides pointed to the case as an example of how mail-in voting was undermining the fairness of the election.”
Hayes then pointed out a memo from the DOJ that, because it was inaccurate, was withdrawn and reissued with new information.
But the narrative is clear: “So Barr tells the president all about it. The president goes on FOX News radio to reveal it publicly. And then immediately, the Trump campaign whirred into motion pushing out the story. …
So what happened with these ballots? It appears to be an almost comically innocent story about a clerical error likely driven by the Trump campaign’s own lawsuit.”
Hayes then laid out exactly what happened with the ballots, adding that what it looks like happened was that a clerk mistook ballot request envelopes for actual ballots that weren’t in the proper envelopes. Read more about the “naked ballot” issue here.
“Clearly someone messed up,” Hayes continued. “These envelopes should not have been opened. And of course ballots should not be randomly thrown away. Don’t do that. That’s bad. But there is zero evidence of anything deliberately criminal happening here at all. And it is completely inappropriate for the U.S. Attorney’s office to be basically live tweeting their findings as they investigate this, including having to pull them down and correct them. DOJ policy calls for keeping voter fraud investigations under wraps to avoid affecting the election outcome. This was an obvious clear violation of that policy by the U.S. Attorney and William Barr, the president. But now we see what the plan is.”
“Imagine a politicized Department of Justice seeking to seize on every logistical hiccup and blast it out to the nation as smoking gun evidence of a vast conspiracy to steal the election from the president… that is what they did yesterday, that is what they are doing. The plan is to use fraud as a justification to challenge the results. Never has the plan been more obvious.”