William Barr mocks ‘2000 Mules’ movie during Jan. 6 hearing, a film Sen. Mike Lee claimed had merit.

Former Attorney General William Barr said the film ‘failed to deliver’ on claims of ballot trafficking, while Lee said the movie raised ‘significant questions’ of the 2020 election

(Doug Mills | The New York Times) During Monday’s House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, former Attorney General William Barr testified that claims of fraud in the 2020 election were not rooted in reality.

During Monday’s House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, former Trump administration Attorney General William Barr discredited a conspiracy-driven film that makes dubious claims about widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Barr’s rebuke of the “2000 Mules” comes only days after Sen. Mike Lee gave a tacit endorsement of the film, which other Utah Republicans have shown at campaign events.

In the film “2000 Mules,” conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza theorizes that non-profit groups paid volunteers — who are compared to drug “mules” — in five states to “harvest” hundreds or even thousands of ballots in 2020 and deposit them into ballot boxes. The film uses anonymized cell phone data to track when people came near those drop-off points, which allegedly backs up D’Souza’s claim.

The film claims “ballot trafficking” was widespread enough to rig the 2020 election for Joe Biden.

In taped testimony, Barr says he watched the film with an open mind, but it failed to deliver on those claims, even chuckling when he brought up the movie.

“My opinion is that the election was not stolen by fraud, and I haven’t seen anything since the election that changes my mind on that, including the ‘2000 Mules’ movie,” the former attorney general said during his testimony.

Barr called the analysis of the data in the film “singularly unimpressive.”

“The premise, if you go by five boxes or whatever it was, that that’s a mule is just indefensible. The photographic evidence was lacking. It didn’t establish widespread harvesting,” Barr said.

“If you take two million cell phones and figure out where they are physically in a big city like Atlanta or wherever, just by definition, you’re going to find many hundreds of them have passed by and spent time in the vicinity of these boxes. The premise that’s a ‘mule’ is just indefensible,” Barr added.

“2000 Mules” has been thoroughly debunked, with experts casting doubt on several claims.

Barr added even if it were to prove allegations of ballot harvesting, there’s no proof it would have changed the election results.

“People don’t understand that even if you show harvesting, that it doesn’t change the results of the election. The courts are not going to throw out votes and then figure out what votes were harvested,” Barr said.

During his testimony, Barr said he told former President Trump that his election fraud claims were false, but Trump wasn’t interested in hearing that.

“I thought, boy, if he really believes this stuff, he has lost contact with — he’s become detached from reality,” Barr said.

Last week during an interview on C-SPAN, Sen. Lee went the opposite direction as Barr, suggesting the film’s premise had some merit.

“That movie does raise significant questions about what might have happened in that election. I think those are questions that need to be answered,” Lee said.

Leaked text messages from Sen. Lee to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows following the 2020 election suggest Lee was a participant in an effort to keep Trump in the White House despite his 2020 election loss.

Lee’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Lee is not the only Utah political figure to endorse the claims made by the film. Congressional candidates Andrew Badger and Chris Herrod have attended screenings of the film, and Badger hosted a screening as a fundraiser. Rep. Phil Lyman has also hosted showings of the film.

Badger, Herrod and Lyman did not respond to a request for comment.