Jan. 6 Hearing: Barr Says Trump Was ‘Detached From Reality’

The one big theme on the second day of hearings by the Jan. 6 committee was that former President Trump was told repeatedly — including by his own attorney general — that his “big lie” about a fraudulent election was baseless. But he made the fake claim on election night anyway, and hasn’t stopped since.

As they did during the opening hearing, committee members used video testimony from some of Mr. Trump’s closest friends and advisers — including blunt comments from former Attorney General William P. Barr — to show that the president must have known that his claims were baseless.

Here are some other takeaways from the second day of the hearings.

Trump was described as ‘detached from reality’ after the election.

Mr. Barr’s video testimony was some of the most compelling of the morning, with the former attorney general describing Mr. Trump as increasingly “detached from reality” in the days after the election. In his testimony, Mr. Barr said he told the president repeatedly that his claims of fraud were unfounded, but that there was “never an indication of interest in what the actual facts are.”

The unvarnished portrait of Mr. Trump is a linchpin of the argument that the committee is trying to make: that Mr. Trump knew his claims of a fraudulent election were not true and made them anyway. Mr. Barr said that in the weeks after the election, he repeatedly told Mr. Trump “how crazy some of these allegations were.”

The committee is making the case that Mr. Trump was a knowing liar. But Mr. Barr’s testimony offered another possible explanation: that the president actually came to believe the lies he was telling.

“I thought, boy, if he really believes this stuff, he has, you know, lost contact with, with — he’s become detached from reality, if he really believes this stuff,” Mr. Barr told the committee.

Two groups surrounded Trump: ‘Team Normal’ vs. ‘Rudy’s Team.’

One thing that came across clearly on Monday was that there were two different groups of people around Mr. Trump in the days and weeks after the election.

Bill Stepien, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, characterized his team as “Team Normal,” as opposed to the team led by Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer.

A veteran Republican operative, Mr. Stepien was among the campaign aides, lawyers, White House advisers and others who urged Mr. Trump to abandon his unfounded claims of fraud. Mr. Giuliani’s team was feeding the president’s paranoia and pushing him to back unsubstantiated and fanciful claims of ballot harvesting, voting machine tampering and more. “We call them kind of my team and Rudy’s team,” Mr. Stepien told committee investigators in interviews. “I didn’t mind being characterized as being part of Team Normal.”

Committee members are hoping that the description of the two competing groups in Mr. Trump’s orbit is evidence that Mr. Trump made a choice — to listen to the group led by Mr. Giuliani instead of to those who ran his campaign and worked in his administration. Mr. Trump chose, in the words of “Team Normal,” to listen to those spouting “crazy” arguments instead.

A picture emerges of election…

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