Attorney General William Barr expressed concern about censorship and the use of mail-in ballots ahead of the 2020 presidential election during an interview with FOX Business Network anchor Maria Bartiromo to air Sunday.
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Barr’s remarks come amid an ongoing spat between President Trump and prominent tech companies regarding instances of alleged bias on their platforms. Trump has accused Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet-owned Google of suppressing conservative voices while promoting left-leaning viewpoints.
“I’m worried about a number of things going into the election,” Barr said. “One, the censorship of robust debate. I’m also worried about undermining the public confidence in the integrity of the elections.”
Trump signed an executive order targeting social media companies in May after Twitter labeled two of his tweets criticizing mail-in voter ballots as “potentially misleading.” At the time, the president said social media firms have “unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter, virtually any form of communication between private citizens and large public audiences."
Concerns among conservative leaders mounted this week after Google demonetized controversial financial blog ZeroHedge on its ad platform and warned right-leaning website The Federalist that it could face similar action. Google said it took action because the sites’ comment sections contained content that violated its policies.
The Trump administration has raised concerns that widespread use of mail-in ballots during the 2020 presidential election would result in voter fraud. In May, Trump threatened to cut federal funding to the state of Michigan after local officials sent absentee ballot applications to voters.
“The thing we have going for us – especially when there’s intense division in the country – is that we have peaceful transfers of power and the way of solving it is to have an election,” Barr told Bartiromo. “But when governments, state governments, start adopting these practices like mail-in ballots that open the floodgates of potential fraud, then people’s confidence in the outcome of the election is going to be undermined.”