The Justice Department official overseeing the electoral fraud investigation has resigned after Attorney General William Barr authorized the US federal prosecutor's office to pursue "material allegations" of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election is confirmed, despite little evidence of fraud .
Richard Pilger will be resigning from the post within hours, according to an email he sent to colleagues at the New York Times.
Pilger, director of the Justice Department's electoral crimes division since 2010, submitted his resignation shortly after his boss Barr announced unprecedented federal support for the investigation – a move that would please Donald Trump.
Barr's memo disgruntled legal experts who advised that all voting-related issues should be treated at the state level and should not be viewed as a federal matter. Several analysts said Barr was at serious risk of embroiling the Justice Department in a highly partisan election war that is being waged in court.
Pilger, whose 25-year career has been devoted to electoral crime and public corruption, told his colleagues in the email on Monday evening that he was resigning to show how concerned many in the legal community are about Barr's unprecedented behavior.
Barr's action comes days after Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump and raises the prospect that Trump will use the Justice Department to try to question the outcome.
It gives prosecutors the option to bypass the Justice Department's longstanding policy of usually prohibiting such overt acts before the election is officially confirmed.
In his memo, Barr argues that the existing "passive and delayed enforcement approach" could undermine voting.
William Barr leaves the office of Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, on Monday
He says the precedent should be ignored and the investigation should be rigorously conducted before the votes are confirmed on December 8th.
"In cases where they are consulted, the general practice of the ECB (Electoral Crimes Division) has been to advise that overt investigative steps should normally not be taken until the election in question has been completed, its results confirmed and all recounts and campaigns have been completed . " & # 39; he wrote.
"Such a passive and delayed enforcement approach can lead to situations where electoral misconduct cannot realistically be corrected."
A Justice Department official told the New York Times that Barr had cleared the investigation of allegations of ineligible voters in Nevada and the back-dating of postal ballots in Pennsylvania.
Poll workers count the ballots in Philadelphia on Sunday as the process continues
Josh Shapiro, the Pennsylvania attorney general, insists his state's vote was held fairly
Trump did not concede the election, instead claiming without evidence that there was widespread Democratic conspiracy in several states to skew the vote in Biden's favor.
Biden has a considerable head start in several battlefield states, and there is no evidence that enough wrongly counted or illegally cast votes would alter the outcome.
Election officials from both political parties have publicly stated that the elections went well, although there were minor issues typical of elections, including breaking voting machines and ballot papers that were misplaced and lost.
In the memo to U.S. attorneys received from The Associated Press, Barr wrote that an investigation can be conducted if there are clear and apparently credible allegations of irregularities that, if any, could potentially affect the outcome of a federal election in a single state. & # 39;
States have until December 8 to resolve any election disputes, including recounts and litigation over the results.
Members of the electoral college will meet on December 14th to finalize the outcome.
Poll workers in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, will examine the votes on November 5
Gene Rossi, a former federal attorney, told Law & Crime Network that the Justice Department isn't Trump's toy – and Barr shouldn't act like the president's binky.
He added, "Just when we thought that the most politically compliant attorney general of modern times would quietly walk into the night, Bill Barr rises from his bunker and shocks us again."
Bradley P. Moss, national security attorney, told Law & Crime, "This is dangerously close to the line of illegal political interference by the Justice Department."
He pointed out that voting irregularities were usually resolved at the state level.
"The federal government plays a very minor role in running our elections, and there is no evidence that the various quixotic lawsuits filed in the states cannot resolve this issue without intervention from the DOJ," said Moss.
"Hopefully this is just more of AG Barr's 'electoral theater' to calm the president's fragile ego than anything else."
Biden leads the way with 43,000 votes in Pennsylvania, 148,000 in Michigan, 34,000 in Nevada, and 13,000 in Arizona, with ballots still counting.
Even if all of Trump's current challenges succeed, experts believe that they are unlikely to overcome these margins. The campaign promised further challenges.
The Trump campaign has announced that it will order a recount in Wisconsin, where Biden has jumped 20,000 votes, and likely Georgia, where he is currently up 10,000 votes, but it is unlikely to overturn those results. The Trump camp is furiously collecting money that it says will be used for the effort.
The Trump campaign has not yet produced any evidence to support its claims of widespread fraud.
STATE BY STATE: WHERE TRUMP DELIVERS AND HOW TO DO IT
BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP MUST BE REVERSED: 45,646
On Monday, the Trump campaign submitted its grand attempt to overturn all postal ballot papers in Pennsylvania, claiming that the Democratic and Republican counties did not administer them the same way; Cases of fraud; and these election observers could not see that they were being counted.
The case faces an uphill battle. The Supreme Court has already allowed postal ballot papers to be issued in Pennsylvania, and election observers' claim not seeing them counted had previously failed when a Trump attorney agreed last Friday that a "non-zero number" was given by Republicans had observed this count in Philadelphia.
The new lawsuit did not provide any actual evidence of fraud.
Trump's campaign last Wednesday filed a motion to intervene in a pending US Supreme Court case contesting a state Supreme Court ruling that allowed election officials to count postal ballot papers postmarked by Tuesday election day and were delivered by Friday.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito ordered the state's electoral boards Friday night to separate postal ballot papers received after 8 p.m. EST on election day.
Pennsylvania election officials have said these ballots have already been separated.
The previously ruled judges did not have enough time to decide on the merits of the case before election day, but said they could re-examine it later.
Alito, along with fellow conservative judges Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, said in a written statement that the Pennsylvania Court's decision is likely to violate the U.S. Constitution.
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Secretary Kathy Boockvar said late-arriving ballots made up a tiny fraction of the total vote in the state.
Rudy Giuliani on Saturday revealed a "witness" to his claims – a Republican election observer – but the man, Daryl Brooks, has not been included in any legal documents. He was previously convicted of exposing himself to underage girls.
BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP MUST BE REVERSED: 16,985
Trump's election campaign said Saturday he had filed a lawsuit in Arizona alleging the state's most populous county falsely rejected the votes cast by some voters on election day.
The lawsuit, filed in Maricopa County Supreme Court, said poll workers told some voters to press a button after a machine found it was "overrated."
The campaign said the decision ignored the electoral choices made by voters in those races, and the lawsuit suggested that those votes could prove "determinant" for the outcome of the presidential race.
It is a modification of an earlier lawsuit that was filed and then withdrawn. She claimed Trump voters were given snipers to mark their ballot papers, claiming this made them more prone to failure. The Sharpie Gate claims actually have no basis, says Arizona's foreign minister.
BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP MUST BE REVERSED: 36,186
A voter, a member of the media and two candidate campaigns sued Nevada's secretaries of state and other officials for preventing the use of a signature verification system in populous Clark County and giving the public access to vote counting.
A federal judge denied the request on Friday, saying there was no evidence that the county was doing anything illegal.
No new lawsuits have been filed so far.
Trump campaign officials have also alleged evidence that non-residents voted but did not sue.
BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP MUST BE REVERSED: 10,620
The Trump campaign on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in Chatham County's state court alleging late-arriving ballots were improperly mixed with valid ballot papers and requested a judge to separate late-arriving ballots rather than count them.
The case was dismissed on Thursday. No new lawsuits were filed. The state will retell.
Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue urged the GOP Secretary of State to abandon claims that there were electoral irregularities on Monday. They didn't offer any evidence and he scoffed, "That won't happen."
BIDEN MAJORITY TRUMP MUST BE REVERSED: 146,123
Trump's campaign on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in Michigan to halt the state's vote count. The lawsuit alleged that campaign observers were denied "meaningful access" to counting ballot papers and access to surveillance video of ballot boxes.
On Thursday, Michigan Court of Claims judge Cynthia Stephens dismissed the case, saying there was no legal basis or evidence to stop the vote and petition.
No new lawsuit was filed.
US POSTAL SERVICE
The U.S. Postal Service said that in Pennsylvania, during two rounds on Thursday, approximately 1,700 ballot papers were identified in processing plants that were being delivered to election officials, according to a court filed early Friday.
The Postal Service said 1,076 ballots were found in its Philadelphia Processing and Distribution Center. Approximately 300 were found at the Pittsburgh processing center, 266 at a Lehigh Valley facility, and others at other Pennsylvania processing centers.
Washington District Judge Emmet Sullivan is overseeing a lawsuit from Vote Forward, NAACP supporters, and the Latino community.
Sullivan ordered sweeps twice a day on Thursday from postal services that serve states with extended deadlines for receiving ballots.
The judge plans to hold a status conference on Monday.
The Trump campaign reveals a new lawsuit to disqualify hundreds of thousands of votes in Pennsylvania, but with no new evidence of fraud – after a chaotic press conference with Kayleigh McEnany
President Donald Trump's campaign and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany held a chaotic press conference Monday claiming the election was “not over” and attacking “partisan” election officials, but offered no new evidence for the election of them alleged fraud.
The overcrowded, heated affair was only the last of Trump's armed forces to claim fraud, which resulted in arguments with the media – including one in Philadelphia where the first witness to be tricked by Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani was found to be a convict Were sex offenders.
The campaign held the event to advance its claims while attorneys filed a 105-page two-way lawsuit in Pennsylvania court that received more than 600,000 votes.
Plaintiffs included the election campaign, former Pennsylvania State Representative Lawrence Roberts, a 78-year-old former beautician, and Lancaster County voter David John Henry.
At the press conference on Monday, it was McEnany, who was present in personal time from her work as a tax-funded employee, and the head of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, who set out the allegations and only asked a few questions.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany spoke at a chaotic press conference accusing the Democrats of trying to upset the election. She misrepresented the name of the county where Philadelphia is located and has provided no evidence of fraud
"What we have seen across the country are Democratic officials systematically trying to end the constitution in order to set the voting scale in their favor," said McEnany, who also briefed reporters and told them to ask questions of election officials if you asked you.
"Isn't the president just a sore loser?" asked a reporter after McEnany abruptly ended the event at RNC headquarters in Washington.
“Our election observers were placed in a huge room behind barricades. They were many yards from the counting process. And indeed, if you look at all of the tables, actually, many hundreds of feet from the tables in the background. You were completely in the dark, ”she said.
"What are the Pennsylvania Democrats hiding?" She asked.
RNC chairman Ronna McDaniel also spoke. Officials did not answer shouted questions about whether Trump was a "painful loser".
The Trump Campaign General Council, Matthew Morgan, was also in attendance. He referred to the Pennsylvania lawsuit filed on Monday, which appeared to contain no evidence from Rudy Giuliani's first witness turned out to be a convicted sex offender
Daryl Brooks, who was Rudy Giuliani's first witness at a press conference on election fraud in Pennsylvania, is a convicted sex offender
McEnany claimed there were no election monitors in Philadelphia
Trump Campaign General Counsel Matt Morgan said Trump's allies had filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania, the location of Giuliani's weekend press where it became known that the first witness Giuliani brought was in jail for seeing two girls exposed between the ages of 7 and 11.
"The election isn't over yet," said Morgan.
McDaniel complained that observers were "intimidated and ousted from the trial."
However, the group declined to provide evidence when reporters asked for it.
When asked if she knew that votes were fraudulently cast, McEnany replied, “We ask for your patience here … We hear these reports. We see them come in. We check it out. & # 39;
McDaniel claimed they had a whistleblower who was an election worker asked to backdate the ballots.
She turned down a question about a "conspiracy" that somehow allowed the Republicans of the House to prevail while Trump lost key battlefields.
"There's no conspiracy there," she replied.
In Philadelphia, Allegheny County, 682,479 ballots were counted that were not allowed to see election observers.
& # 39; It's the media's job to ask why. We are only asking for truth, transparency and sunlight here. That's all we ask, and unfortunately we are asking the questions many of you should be asking, ”she said.
Philadelphia is not in Allegheny County.
Trump's team has provided no evidence that there were no election observers, and at other times claim that observers in attendance did not have sufficient visibility or access. Plaintiffs acknowledged this in a lawsuit in Pennsylvania. Members of the media who were present in counting systems identified and observed election observers who are required by law.
The officers only asked two questions before abruptly ending the event.
The background to the press conference was President Trump's insistence that he would "win" the election and assert himself on the battlefield. TV stations have already called for President-Elect Joe Biden.
& # 39; Wisconsin looks very good. Requires a little time legally. Will happen soon! & # 39; Trump tweeted Monday. Biden leads there with more than 20,000 votes. He leads in Pennsylvania with more than 40,000 votes.
Foreign leaders have already started calling Biden to congratulate him. Former Republican President George W. Bush also congratulated Biden and named him President-elect, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose wife serves in Trump's cabinet, is calling for the legal process to play itself out.
According to the lawsuit identifying the Pennsylvania Secretary of State as the county electoral board, "Allegheny and Philadelphia Counties alone received and processed 682,479 postal ballot and postal ballot papers without verification by political parties and candidates."
But the lawsuit appears to confirm that observers were actually present. It reads: "Allegheny and Pennsylvania counties conducted the acquisition and tabulation in rooms of the convention center and placed observers far away from the action."
It is charged that democratically run districts have conducted pre-solicitation "by checking incoming postal ballot papers for deficiencies, such as the lack of the inner confidentiality envelope or the lack of a voter signature on the outer envelope of the declaration".
According to state law, which was in dispute before the election, mail-in votes had to be placed in a special security sleeve and then in a second envelope in order to be counted.
Election officials are sometimes allowed to help voters "heal" their ballots by contacting them to prevent their votes from being discarded.
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