Attorney General William Barr said Tuesday that the Justice Department has not uncovered evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, despite claims by President Trump and his campaign’s legal team.
Barr, during an interview with The Associated Press Tuesday, said that U.S. attorneys and FBI officials have been working to follow up on specific complaints and information they have received, but have uncovered no evidence that would change the outcome of the election.
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“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election,” Barr told The Associated Press.
Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities if they existed, before the results of the 2020 presidential race were certified.
Barr’s move gave prosecutors the ability to go around Justice Department policy that typically would prohibit investigations of the time before the election was certified. Soon after Barr’s memo was issued, the Justice Department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position.
The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in a number of key battleground states where President-elect Joe Biden led by a razor-thin margin. The Trump campaign has been alleging a widespread conspiracy to dump millions of illegal votes into the system, but has not provided substantial evidence to support those claims. The campaign’s legal effort, led by Rudy Giuliani, has, in large part, been focused on Republican poll watchers being blocked from viewing vote counting at polling sites in some locations. Those claims have been dismissed by even Republican-appointed judges, who have said the cases lack evidence.
Election officials in many of those states, though, have certified Biden’s victory.
President Trump, though, has not yet conceded to Biden, despite allowing the formal transition process to begin, and continues to blast election officials in multiple states, while also claiming the 2020 presidential election was rigged.
The Trump administration has said, though, that the 2020 election was the most secure ever.
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“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,” Barr told the AP. “And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”
Barr added that people have been confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits, adding that such a remedy for those complaints would be a top-down audit conducted by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.
“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, adding that 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. 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.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.