Bill Barr told Trump to ‘dial it back’ ahead of the election, book claims


Former US Attorney General Bill Barr warned President Trump that independent voters thought he was a ‘f**king a*****e’ and that he could lose the 2020 election over his ‘outrageous’ behavior, according to a new book.  

Barr, who resigned from his post in December, told Trump that his supporters didn’t ‘give a s**t’ about his petty ‘grievances’ as he urged him to get his act together in a meeting before the election. 

Details of the conversation are revealed in Peril, by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, covering America’s dramatic transition from President Trump to President Biden.

The book – out September 21 – lifts the lid on Barr’s clashes with the former president, including how he chided him for ‘wheeling out a clown car’ of lawyers to baselessly challenge the results of the election after his defeat last November. 

Among them was Rudy Giuliani, who Barr believed was ‘the worst’ lawyer of them all and a ‘f**king idiot,’ according to the authors.  

Peril, by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, lifts the lid on Bill Barr’s strained relationship with President Donald Trump during the last months of his presidency

According to the book, Barr believed having lawyers like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who both spouted conspiracy theories, on Trump's legal team was a bad move

According to the book, Barr believed having lawyers like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who both spouted conspiracy theories, on Trump’s legal team was a bad move

The book claims that while the former DOJ chief initially enjoyed being attorney general under Trump, the role soon became like the film, Groundhog Day, where he felt trapped in an ‘endless and tortuous time loop.’ 

Trump appointed Barr as his attorney general in February 2019 after firing Jeff Sessions, who he never forgave for setting up the US Special Counsel’s investigation into his dealings with Russia. 

Barr had remained in Trump’s good books with his 2019 summary of the Mueller report into the president’s links to Russia, which gave the misleading impression he had been exonerated. 

Later that year, Barr also spoke out against the DOJ’s inspector general investigation after the watchdog found no evidence of wrongdoing by the department or the FBI over the origins of the Russia investigation.

Peril, by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, covers America's dramatic transition from President Trump to President Biden. It is due for release September 21

Peril, by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, covers America’s dramatic transition from President Trump to President Biden. It is due for release September 21

This infuriated Trump who was looking to the report for evidence that the ‘deep state’ was out to get him. 

But according to the book, Barr eventually grew tired of Trump’s ‘pigheadedness and blindness’ – which he had seen before during his time as President George H. W. Bush’s attorney general 28 years earlier. 

Matters came to a head in spring of 2020, when Barr became one of several administration officials who tried to get Trump to change course ahead of the November election. 

At the time, his handling of the coronavirus pandemic had been destroying his ratings in the polls and the economy was in freefall.

Barr warned the president that as things stood, ‘you’re going to lose’ the election.

He told Trump that even his most fervent supporters were telling him to ‘dial it back’ and that he was ‘his own worst enemy.’

‘This election is about the suburbs. You know you’re going to bring in your base and you don’t gain anything by continuing to be more and more outrageous,’ Barr said according to the book. 

‘And I think you have some repair work to do among Republican and independent voters who like your policies generally,’ he said, before pausing and adding: ‘They just think you’re a f**king a*****e’.

He said: ‘Your base cares about seeing (former FBI director James Comey) and the rest of those guys held accountable, but these other people don’t.

‘They don’t care about your f**king grievances. And it just seems that every time you’re out there, you’re talking about your goddamn grievances.’

During a conversation last spring, Barr told Trump that his base of supporters merely 'tolerate' his wild behavior but they 'don't support you because you act that way,' the book claims

During a conversation last spring, Barr told Trump that his base of supporters merely ‘tolerate’ his wild behavior but they ‘don’t support you because you act that way,’ the book claims 

Barr had remained in Trump's good books with his summary of the 2019 Mueller report which gave the misleading impression he had been exonerated

Barr had remained in Trump’s good books with his summary of the 2019 Mueller report which gave the misleading impression he had been exonerated

Barr also told Trump that his base of supporters merely ‘tolerate’ his wild behavior but they ‘don’t support you because you act that way.’

By then the pair’s relationship had already soured and the attorney general was feeling like he was in the 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, in which Bill Murray’s character relives the same day every day.  

The two would clash again after the election when Trump began pushing claims of  widespread voter fraud after he lost. 

A few weeks later on November 23, Barr told Trump that his claims were ‘all b******t’, especially the allegations about irregularities with voting machines, the book reveals.

During another conversation in the White House the following month, Barr also warned the president that having lawyers like Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who both spouted conspiracy theories, representing him was a bad move. 

‘What you needed was a team of crackerjack lawyers ready to go who could quickly formulate a strategy that would actually be able to say: “We’re going for these votes here, these votes here, and here’s our argument here” and execute,’ he said. 

‘Instead you have wheeled out a clown car.

‘Every self-respecting lawyer in the country has run for the hills. Your team is a bunch of clowns.’  

Barr privately thought to himself that Powell was ‘certifiable’ and that Giuliani was ‘the worst – a f****** idiot,’ the book claims. 

Woodward writes that Barr said Giuliani was ‘drinking too much and was desperate for money, representing lowlifes and creeps.’ 

He also chided Trump that he had wasted a month ‘on the one theory that is demonstrably crazy, which is these machines.’   

The attorney general lasted a few more weeks in office until he stepped down in late December. 

The book also includes a conversation between Trump and Barr about the prosecutor’s weight.  

Barr chided Trump for wheeling 'out a clown car' of lawyers to baselessly challenge the results of the election after his defeat, according to Peril

Barr chided Trump for wheeling ‘out a clown car’ of lawyers to baselessly challenge the results of the election after his defeat, according to Peril 

The book claims Barr privately thought to himself that Sidney Powell was 'certifiable' and that Giuliani was 'the worst - a f****** idiot'

 The book claims Barr privately thought to himself that Sidney Powell was ‘certifiable’ and that Giuliani was ‘the worst – a f****** idiot’

Former First Lady Melania Trump took one look at Barr, with his large belly and his powerful voice and said he looked like an attorney general ‘right out of central casting’, Woodward writes.

Trump agreed and told Barr: ‘You do look like you come out of central casting.’

The ex-POTUS, who like him was overweight added: ‘You hold it well Bill. You carry it well. be careful because if you lose too much weight, your skin is going to start becoming saggy.’ 

Among the other anecdotes in the book is a conversation between Trump and Steve Bannon, his former strategist, on December 30 last year in which they plotted against Joe Biden.

Bannon told Trump to focus on the now infamous rally planned for January 6, which ultimately led to a deadly insurrection after a violent mob stormed the US Capitol.

‘We’re going to bury Biden on January 6, f**king bury him,’ Bannon said, the book states. 

‘We are going to kill it in the crib. Kill the Biden presidency in the crib.’ 

Mitch McConnell also used colorful language when Trump rang him up in the middle of the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

Trump asked how McConnell felt about Kavanaugh and he replied: ‘I feel stronger about Kavanaugh than mule p***’.

Woodward writes that ‘in Kentucky’, where McConnell is from, ‘nothing is stronger than mule p***’.

During the widespread protest over the death of George Floyd, Trump’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, became furious when Trump’s adviser Stephen Miller said there should be troops on the streets.

Trump and Barr's relationship started off strong after he was appointed AG in 2019, however, Barr eventually grew tired of the president's 'pigheadedness and blindness' the book claims

Trump and Barr’s relationship started off strong after he was appointed AG in 2019, however, Barr eventually grew tired of the president’s ‘pigheadedness and blindness’ the book claims

Miller told Trump: ‘Barbarians are at the gate.’

Milley turned around to face Miller and said: ‘Shut the f*** up, Steve’.

Elsewhere in the book Woodward details how Milley, the top US general, called his Chinese counterpart on two occasions to reassure him that the US would not launch a nuclear strike against Beijing.

Milley also told subordinates that he had to be informed if any order came down to launch such a strike because he was so concerned about Trump’s mental state.

The claims sparked a firestorm with Trump calling Milley a ‘complete nut job’.

Trump said: ‘He put our country in a very dangerous position but President Xi knows better, and would’ve called me.

‘The way Milley and the Biden Administration handled the Afghanistan withdrawal, perhaps the most embarrassing moment in our Country’s history, would not exactly instill fear in China.

‘The only reason Biden will not fire or court-martial Milley is because he doesn’t want him spilling the dirty secrets on Biden’s deadly disaster in Afghanistan’.

Biden said that he has ‘full confidence’ in Milley, who remained in his post after the change in administrations. 

Peril, by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, will be published by Simon & Schuster on September 21

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