William Barr: no evidence of voter fraud that would change election outcome | William Barr

William Barr said on Tuesday the US Department of Justice has not uncovered evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

The attorney general’s comments come despite Donald Trump’s repeated claims that the election was stolen, and his refusal to concede to President-elect Joe Biden.

Shortly after the comments were made public, the White House pool report said the attorney general had been seen to enter the building.

Trump did not immediately comment. But campaign lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said in a statement: “With the greatest respect to the Attorney General, his opinion appears to be without any knowledge or investigation of the substantial irregularities and evidence of systemic fraud.”

Barr made his comments in an interview with the Associated Press. US attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up complaints and information, he said, but have uncovered no evidence that would change the outcome of the election.

“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,” Barr said.

Barr has been one of the president’s most ardent allies. Before the election, he repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls.

Last month, Barr issued a directive to US attorneys allowing them to pursue “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.

That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around department policy. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside because of the memo.

A Trump team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system – with no evidence.

They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers did not have a clear enough view in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened.

The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican-appointed judges. Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims.

Trump has railed against the election though his own administration has said it was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition to Biden, but has still refused to admit he lost.

The issues Trump’s campaign and its allies have pointed to are typical in elections: problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots to be miscast or lost.

Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing US voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chávez” – the Venezuelan president who died in 2013.

Powell was removed from the Trump team after threatening to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.

Barr said: “There’s been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the [Department of Homeland Security] and DoJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”

Barr said people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for such complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the DoJ.

“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all, and people don’t like something they want the Department of Justice to come in and ‘investigate’,” Barr said.

He said first of all there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.

“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. They are not systemic allegations and those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on.”

Giuliani and Ellis insisted they had “gathered ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states” and had “many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud”.

“As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DoJ,” they said, adding: “Nonetheless, we will continue our pursuit of the truth through the judicial system and state legislatures.”

New York Democratic senator and senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said drily at a press conference of Barr: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”

Conservative commentator Bill Kristol tweeted tongue-in-cheek that Giuliani and Ellis should sue Barr and the Department of Justice.

“And since Rudy and Ellis are the Trump campaign lawyers, and Barr is the Trump Administration lawyer, the case might be called Trump v Trump. Which would be a fitting end to the whole circus,” he tweeted.

In another surreal twist, Wisconsin Republican senator Ron Johnson demanded Barr “show everybody” his evidence that there was no mass fraud.

Meanwhile, as Trump continued to tweet ever more wild and unfounded allegations of fraud, one of Georgia’s top election officials, Gabriel Sterling, urged him to cease.

“Stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone is going to get hurt, someone is going to get shot, someone is going to get killed, and it’s not right. It’s not right,” he said.

Sterling, the voting systems manager for the Georgia secretary of state’s office, has police protection around his home because of threats, said a technician in one county was told he should be hung for treason and that the secretary of state’s wife is getting “sexualized threats”.

Tensions are high in Georgia, where two runoff elections in January will determine which party has control of the Senate. The state, which usually votes Republican, supported Joe Biden in the presidential race.




Source link

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Leave a Reply