Former attorney general Bill Barr says Fox News host Maria Bartiromo called him up “screaming” about imaginary voter fraud, according to his account in a new book.
“Betrayal,” by ABC’s chief Washington correspondent Jon Karl, highlights Bartiromo’s damaging role as a promoter of reckless lies about the election.
In the book, which comes out on Tuesday, Karl writes that “Bartiromo had once been a widely respected and trailblazing financial journalist. As a correspondent for CNBC, she was the first television reporter to report live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Now she had her own show on Fox News and she was using it to boost a series of unfounded allegations designed to overturn a presidential election.”
As president, Donald Trump frequently praised Bartiromo and granted her interviews. Karl, a co-anchor of ABC’s Sunday morning program “This Week,” suggests in the book that the TV segments on Bartiromo’s Sunday morning program influenced Trump’s anti-democratic crusade.
On Sunday, November 8, 2020, for example, one day after Fox and all the major networks said Joe Biden was president-elect, Bartiromo “used her Sunday show on the network to highlight the most outlandish allegations of election fraud” through an interview with Sidney Powell.
Powell delivered a “fevered rant,” Karl wrote, and “Bartiromo didn’t express one ounce of skepticism.”
“It was all a lie,” he wrote, “but Sidney Powell’s deranged theories would have never taken hold if there weren’t people in positions of power and influence who had promoted them – people like Maria Bartiromo.”
Bartiromo comes up several times in “Betrayal.” In mid-November, according to the book, Bartiromo “called Barr to complain that the DOJ hadn’t done anything to stop the Democrats from stealing the election.”
“She called me up and she was screaming,” Barr told Karl on the record. “I yelled back at her. She’s lost it.”
Karl said he reached out to Bartiromo for a response, because, “after all, it’s highly inappropriate for a journalist to call the attorney general and demand he do something related to a criminal investigation.”
“Bartiromo did not respond,” Karl wrote, “but a Fox News spokesperson did get back to me and denied Barr’s account of the conversation on Bartiromo’s behalf.”
Through the Fox spokesperson, Bartiromo claimed Barr was the aggressive one, yelling and cursing during the call. Fox reiterated the same statement in response to a CNN Business inquiry on Sunday.
Later in the book, Karl describes Bartiromo’s program as a shortcut to Trump, saying that Powell “had a reliable platform that ensured she could speak directly to the president” about her fraudulent conspiracy theories.
“Powell’s interviews with Bartiromo caught Trump’s attention and gave her a direct line into the White House,” Karl wrote.