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Former U.S. attorney in Pa. says Barr ordered him not to investigate potential voter fraud

The letter to Trump by former U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain describes instructions received from Barr after November election.

Updated: July 14, 2021 - 7:32am

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Former President Trump has made public a letter from a former federal prosecutor in Pennsylvania alleging former Attorney General Bill Barr pressured him not to investigate claims of voter fraud and election irregularities in the state. 

"U.S. Attorney from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania was precluded from investigating election fraud allegations. Outrageous!" wrote Trump in a statement he released along with the letter. 

The letter to Trump, written by William M. McSwain, describes instructions he received from Barr in the wake of the November election.

The relationship between Trump and Barr unraveled after Barr said he found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, as the former president alleges. The situation appeared to reach a boiling point in late June following the publication of an interview with Barr in "The Atlantic" magazine in which he talked about the schism. 

Barr "instructed me not to make any public statements or put out any press releases regarding possible election irregularities," McSwain wrote. "I was also given a directive to pass along serious allegations to the State Attorney General for investigation — the same State Attorney General who has already declared that you could not win."

McSwain, who served as the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from April 2018 to January 2021, wrote that he disagreed with the directives he received from the attorney general, but followed orders nonetheless.

"President Trump, you were right to be upset about the way the Democrats ran the 2020 election in Pennsylvania," he wrote.

In late 2020, then-AG Barr said that the Justice Department had not found evidence of voter fraud "on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election."

Several weeks earlier, he had issued instructions to U.S. attorneys across the country giving them the go-ahead to probe any "substantial allegations" of voting irregularities that they uncovered.