Trump casts baseless conspiracy theories in his first interview since losing to Biden

Trump's roughly 45-minute conversation with Fox Business was his first one-on-one interview since his defeat to President-elect Joe Biden. Trump sounded at once angry but also resigned to the growing reality that Biden will be sworn in as president January 20

By Michael Crowley, Catie Edmondson and Christopher Cameron
Published: Nov 30, 2020

trump interview_bgPresident Donald Trump speaks to reporters in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington, on Thanksgiving, Nov. 26, 2020. President Trump said on Sunday that he was frustrated that law enforcement agencies had not done more to pursue his false claims of voter fraud. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Sunday that the FBI and the Justice Department might be “involved” in what he again groundlessly called a fraudulent presidential election, hinting that the nation’s law enforcement agencies were biased against his fading efforts to remain in office.

“This is total fraud. And how the FBI and Department of Justice — I don’t know, maybe they’re involved — but how people are allowed to get away with this stuff is unbelievable. This election was a total fraud,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo.

“Missing in action. Can’t tell you where they are,” Trump said, a note of resignation in his voice. “I ask, ‘Are they looking at it?’ Everyone says, ‘Yes, they’re looking at it.’

“These people have been there a long time,” he added. “Some of them have served a lot of different presidents.”

Trump’s roughly 45-minute conversation with Bartiromo, who has been sympathetic to his charges, was his first one-on-one interview since his defeat to President-elect Joe Biden. Trump sounded at once angry but also resigned to the growing reality that Biden will be sworn in as president Jan. 20.

In often rambling remarks, Trump offered vague charges of “thousands of dead people voting,” discarded ballots and blocked poll watchers. He also claimed that Biden won with implausibly large margins in African American areas.

“There’s no way Joe Biden got 80 million votes,” he said. “There’s no way it happened.”

No significant evidence has been found to support the president’s claims, and several judges in multiple states have quickly dismissed lawsuits by his legal team alleging fraud.

Skipping over that reality, Trump complained that the media had not taken his fraud claims more seriously and alleged that foreign leaders had expressed sympathy for his plight.

“You have leaders of countries that call me, say, ‘That’s the most messed-up election we’ve ever seen,’” Trump claimed. But no foreign leader has endorsed Trump’s claims about the election, and dozens have offered both public and private congratulations to Biden.

With several important federal deadlines coming up for the election process, including a Dec. 8 deadline for states to resolve all election disputes, Trump declined to say when his time fighting the results would be up. “I’m not going to say a date,” Trump said.

Asked whether he would appoint a special counsel to investigate the election, Trump said that he “would consider” doing so but quickly changed the subject.

And asked whether the Supreme Court, now governed by a conservative majority, was likely to rule on the election outcome, Trump sounded pessimistic.

“It’s hard to get into the Supreme Court,” he said, adding that his lawyers had told him, “It’s very hard to get a case up there.”

“This is disgusting,” Bartiromo said. “And we cannot allow America’s elections to be corrupted.

“Do you believe you will win this?” she asked.

Trump did not answer directly.

Trump’s interview came amid continued pushback against his baseless claims.

Christopher Krebs, the former government official who had overseen cybersecurity efforts for the 2020 election, reaffirmed his confidence in the integrity of the vote and called Trump’s unfounded allegations of voter fraud “farcical.”

“The American people should have 100% confidence in their vote,” Krebs said in an excerpt from a “60 Minutes” interview that is to air Sunday night. “The proof is in the ballots. The recounts are consistent with the initial count, and to me, that’s further evidence. That’s further confirmation.”

Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of the Republican leadership, also said he did not think the election was rigged.

“I don’t think it was rigged,” Blunt said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think there was some element of voter fraud as there is in any election. I don’t have any reason to believe the numbers are there that would have made that difference.”

Blunt’s comments came as an increasing number of Republican lawmakers have begun to acknowledge Biden’s victory. But many, including the party’s leaders, still refuse to do so.

Blunt, who leads the Senate committee responsible for overseeing the presidential inauguration, also said it was likely that there would be fewer attendees at the event this year and that it was also likely that attendees would be required to wear masks.

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©2019 New York Times News Service

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