William Barr says Trump was 'beyond restraint' and would 'only listen to a few sycophants' after losing the 2020 election

William Barr says Trump was 'beyond restraint' and would 'only listen to a few sycophants' after losing the 2020 election
President Donald Trump stands with Attorney General William Barr in 2019.AP Photo/Evan Vucci
  • William Barr lamented the closing months of Trump's time in the White House in his new book.
  • "Reasoning with him was hopeless," Barr wrote about trying to tell Trump the truth about his 2020 election loss.

Former Attorney General William Barr said President Donald Trump wouldn't listen to reason after losing the 2020 election and pushed "amateurish" claims about election fraud.

"It had always been difficult to keep him on track—you had to put up with endless bitching and exercise a superhuman level of patience, but it could be done," Barr wrote of his time in the administration in his new book "One Damn Thing After Another."

"After the election, though, he was beyond restraint," Barr said of Trump. "He would only listen to a few sycophants who told him what he wanted to hear. Reasoning with him was hopeless."

Barr detailed his decision to resign before Trump left office, depicting an increasingly tortured relationship as he refused Trump and his allies' push to investigate claims about voter fraud. Barr further enraged Trump after he told NPR in early December that the DOJ had "not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election."

Barr wrote that Trump pushed thin conspiracy theories even as the attorney general tried to tell him that he was resigning.


"As a senior executive at Verizon, I had reviewed many consultant reports on cybersecurity matters. This one looked amateurish to me," Barr writes of Trump pushing a report on a quickly corrected error in the initial tabulation of the results in pro-Trump Antrim County, Michigan. A later audit of the county's results debunked a conspiracy theory about Dominion voting machines.

The feud between Trump and Barr has only deepened since the publication of Barr's book.

Trump fired back at his attorney general on Monday night, calling Barr, "a Bushie who never had the energy or competence to do the job." The Bushie line is a reference to Barr's time in the George H.W. Bush administration when Barr also served as attorney general and to Trump's long-running feud with the Bush family.

Like many Republicans, Barr wondered what might have been if Trump ran a different kind of 2020 campaign.

"I gave him my resignation letter. He read it carefully and said, 'Whew, that's the best summary of our accomplishments I've seen,'" Barr wrote of the meeting. "I thought to myself, Maybe if you had talked about these things, instead of your grievances, things would have worked out differently."