Attorney General William Barr has given a go-ahead to Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate any claims of voter irregularities in the 2020 US Presidential Election, according to reports. The news comes days after President Donald Trump claimed that widespread voter fraud in multiple states cost him the 2020 elections. However, hours after the announcement, the head of the branch of DOJ that investigates election crimes resigned from his post.
The go-ahead from Barr will now give prosecutors the power to circumvent longstanding policy that would otherwise prevent dramatic actions being taken between the day of the election and the formal certification of results. A press release from the Department of Justice mentioned that in voter irregularity cases the public integrity office would be consulted.
Probe to Begin
According to a report in the Independent, Barr said that the DOJ could conduct investigations, "if there are clear and apparently-credible allegations of irregularities that, if true, could potentially impact the outcome of a federal election in an individual state". The investigation will now find out if there were any credible irregularities in this year's election, which if found true, could potentially impact the outcome of results in an individual state.
According to sources, the order from Barr came after the DOJ received a referral from the Nevada Republican Party alleging that there was widespread voter fraud. Also, an affidavit from a Pennsylvania postal worker obtained by Sen. Lindsey Graham reportedly alleges voting irregularities.
The news comes two days after Democrat nominee Joe Biden won the 2020 US Presidential Election. However, Trump and the Republicans have been alleging that voter fraud swung key states in the Democrats' direction and cost him the election. Trump has since then said that he would contest the results and since then has filed a host of lawsuits.
Hours after Barr's made the announcement, Richard Pilger, director of the Election Crimes Branch of the DOJ, sent a memo to colleagues that suggested that his decision to resign was linked to Barr's memo, which was issued as the president's legal team mount baseless legal challenges to the election results.
The Federal Election Commission has so far maintained that there has been no "evidence of fraud" in this year's election. Trump, however, has been singing a different tune. On Monday, Trump campaign filed another set of lawsuits in Michigan and Pennsylvania alleging voter fraud, with the GOP saying that it has received 131 affidavits in Detroit to challenge the results.
Barr's words "credible allegations" is enough to launch an investigation into election fraud, which at the same time gives a faint ray of hope to Trump. The states have time till December 8 to decide and resolve any disputes related to voter fraud, while the Electoral College has time until December 14 to finalize the results.