Barr: Trump claimed fraud on election night before 'any potential of looking at evidence'

Former Fox Chris Stirewalt testified that Trump had no basis for declaring victory on election night

Updated: June 13, 2022 - 12:20pm

In newly released video Monday from the House select committee on Jan. 6, former Attorney General Bill Barr said then-President Trump "right out of the box" on Election Day said there was fraud "before there was actually any potential of looking at evidence."

“It seemed to be based on the dynamic that, at the end of the evening, a lot of Democratic votes came in which changed the vote counts in certain states, and that seemed to be the basis for this broad claim that there was major fraud,” Barr said in the videotaped deposition, played during the committee's televised hearing on Capitol Hill.

"And I didn’t think much of that, because people had been talking for weeks and everyone understood for weeks that that was going to be what happened on election night," he also said, referring to the large amount of mail-in votes during the pandemic.

Barr recalled thinking that if Trump believes that there was widespread fraud then he has become "detached from reality."

Chris Stirewalt, a former Fox digital politics editor, testified in person Monday.

In his testimony, Stirewalt said Trump didn't have any basis for declaring victory on election night.

Stirewalt was part of a Fox decision desk team that early on election night declared Democrat presidential challenger Joe Biden the winner in critical Arizona.

"It was really controversial to our competitors," Stirewalt, who was later let go by Fox, said about the decision.

Ex-Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien did not testify before the committee in person due to his wife going into labor. Clips from Stepien's videotaped deposition were played throughout the hearing.

Stepien said he thought Trump should tell supporters on election night the votes are still being counted and we will have a better idea of the results in the coming days. He explained that Trump rejected that suggestion.

"The president disagreed with that," he said. "I don't recall the particular words. He thought I was wrong, he told me so, and that they were going to go in a different direction."