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NBC News anchor and host of the "Today" show Savannah Guthrie on Monday pressed former Attorney General William Barr why he decided, in his 2020 resignation letter, to include positive remarks about former President Trump, who he has called "dangerous" to the country in a new book.
"You say in your book you were worried about the peaceful transition of power. You even had national security concerns," Guthrie said to Barr during his first live television interview since leaving Trump's administration. "None of this is present in this resignation letter. Didn't the American people deserve to know what you knew?"
Barr responded by saying he tendered his resignation on Dec. 14, a date by which the 2020 election was already "over for all intents and purposes."
In the weeks following the election, Trump and his allies repeatedly floated unproven theories of widespread voter fraud, assertions Barr writes in his forthcoming book he told the president were "bullshit."
"The idea that something could be done later on Jan. 6 was nonsense," Barr told Guthrie. "Once the election was locked in on Dec. 14, I tendered my resignation and I knew Trump was going to be leaving office."
You say in your book you were worried about the peaceful transition of power. You even had national security concerns ... none of this is present in this resignation letter. Didn't the American people deserve to know what you knew? -@SavannahGuthrie to William Barr pic.twitter.com/aQfdbcE10a
- TODAY (@TODAYshow) March 7, 2022
As part of his efforts to promote the book, Barr last week granted an extensive sit-down interview with NBC's Lester Holt, during which he suggested Trump was responsible for the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and shot down the former president's continued claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.
In a letter responding to a request for comment on Barr's remarks from NBC News over the weekend, Trump said his former attorney general is "groveling for the media, hoping to gain acceptance that he doesn't deserve."
Guthrie asked Barr about Trump's response, saying critics might suggest the former attorney general is on "an image rehab tour with a lawyerly flair."
"People who know me know I don't care much about what people think of me," Barr responded. "I think that's one of the reasons I was persuaded to take the attorney general job because I wasn't looking for anything. I don't have a future career. I'm retired and I felt I could just call them as I see them."
Trump has himself clashed with Guthrie in the past. She pressed him just weeks before the 2020 election about his statements on social media spreading conspiracy theories.
"I don't get that. You're the president," Guthrie said to Trump. "You're not like someone's crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever."