Thursday, 21 January, 2021


DOJ Not Done Investigating Election Fraud, Spokesperson Says

Donald Trump and William Barr in front of the US Capitol building Barr says he hasn’t seen fraud that could affect the election outcome
Bennie Garza | 02 December, 2020, 12:11

The announcement on Tuesday doubles down on one of President Donald Trump's longtime infatuations - that national security and criminal concerns about his campaign and Russian Federation in 2016 sullied the legitimacy of his election and presidency - and leaves a political bomb ticking for President-elect Joe Biden and his new attorney general. Tony Evers and the chair of the Wisconsin Elections Commission certified Biden as the victor of the state's 10 electoral college votes.

Barr also reportedly said: "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'".

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said the appointment erodes trust in the Justice Department, and he questioned how it was allowed under the special counsel rules. "Where are they? I've not seen anything". But in a statement, Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and campaign senior legal adviser, Jenna Ellis, said "there hasn't been any semblance of a Department of Justice investigation" of election fraud. Durham is authorized "to investigate whether any federal official, employee or any person or entity violated the law in connection with the intelligence, counter-intelligence or law enforcement activities" directed at the 2016 presidential campaigns, anyone associated with the campaigns or the Trump administration.

Around this time, Nora Dannehy - a prosecutor who had worked closely with Durham in the past and who was assisting in the Russian Federation probe review - resigned from the investigation, in a move that was reportedly motivated by her discomfort with the pressure Barr was placing on Durham. The two repeatedly echoed each other's opposition to mail-in voting, saying the method would lead to rampant fraud.

Last month, Mr Barr issued a directive to United States attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any "substantial allegations" of voting irregularities, before the election was certified.

Soon after it was issued, the department's top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.

But no evidence of fraud was found.

However, he told the news agency, "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".

Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections at the watchdog group Common Cause, said Barr's comments that the DOJ was unable to find substantive evidence of fraud could potentially put him in Trump's crosshairs.

Mr Trump has railed against the election in tweets and in interviews, though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever.

In its assessment of the November 3 election, Common Cause said it had uncovered instances of routine Election Day problems such as malfunctioning machines and long lines but no evidence of fraud.

Not because it will persuade Trump or his campaign to stop spreading disinformation about the election.

Though Justice Department officials have for weeks said that there was not evidence to substantiate the claims of Trump and his allies, Barr's publicly breaking with the president is particularly significant.

Barr ordered the appointment on October 19, two weeks before the election, but kept it secret until Tuesday, "given the proximity of the presidential election,"according to a letter he sent the House and Senate judiciary committees Tuesday".

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