Former Attorney General William Barr disparaged the evidence of voter fraud featured in the documentary “2000 Mules” as “singularly unimpressive” during his interview with House Committee investigators into the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
Right-wing filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza’s film attempted to demonstrate that massive fraud took place in the 2020 presidential election. Specifically, he argued that 2,000 people collected 400,000 illegal votes and the delivered to vote in mailboxes in key states that opted for Joe Biden.
As Barr detailed during the second House hearing on January 6 this month, D’Souza’s documentary does not prove his assertions.
Former President Donald Trump has embraced numerous conspiracy theories to explain his election defeat — voting machines in Venezuela, a suitcase of smuggled ballots in Georgia — that were debunked almost as quickly as he had them. done. The claims in “2000 Mules” are relatively recent since the film hit theaters in May 2022, with clips still circulating on social media.
At the opening of the hearing, Vice President, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., cited a New York Post Editorial – usually a conservative newspaper – which said Trump “holds on to more fantastical theories, such as Dinesh D’Souza’s debunked ‘2,000 mules’, even though accounts in Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin confirm that Trump lost.”
The committee then released a video of Barr disparaging the film and taking aim at the film’s reliance on cellphone data.
Research by Texas-based True the Vote, a national organization that has disseminated misinformation about voting in the past, claimed to show that some people repeatedly walked past certain drop boxes. These repeat visits, they argued, revealed a series of delivery rounds.
Barr said the data revealed nothing at all.
“If you take 2 million cell phones and determine where they are physically in a major city like Atlanta or wherever, by definition, you will find that several hundred of them have passed and spent time near these enclosures,” Barr said. said.
Drop boxes are placed in high traffic areas to facilitate voting. Inevitably, many people will walk past the drop boxes multiple times. Barr said a company told him that just one of its trucks would represent six cellphone signals near one drop box or another.
It wasn’t just Barr’s take. State officials said cellphone data showing 279 cellphones tracked multiple times within 100 feet of an absentee drop box was not evidence of a crime, Georgia Public Radio reported.
The documentary also used video footage to show people delivering ballots to the polls. Barr said the photographic evidence was “lacking”.
“It didn’t establish widespread illegal harvesting,” Barr said.
In 31 states, someone other than the voter — often a family member or designate — is allowed to return a completed ballot on behalf of another voter, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some states only allow the voter to return the ballot, while others do not explicitly state who may or may not return a ballot on a voter’s behalf.
Barr said that without evidence that the vote was coerced or filled in by someone other than the voter, courts have no reason to dismiss a ballot as illegal.
If there had been a scheme employing people to collect ballots, it likely would have come to light by now, University of Florida political scientist Michael McDonald told PolitiFact in May.
“There would be a paper trail and a social media trail, and there would be witnesses there to verify that this was happening,” McDonald said.
Writer Grace Abels contributed research.