U.S. Attorney General William Barr told federal prosecutors on Monday to look into “substantial” allegations of irregularities in last week’s election, prompting the top lawyer overseeing voter fraud investigations to resign in protest.
Trump has not conceded the election to Democrat Joe Biden who on Saturday secured more than the 270 votes in the Electoral College needed to win the presidency.
Barr told prosecutors that “fanciful or far-fetched claims” should not be a basis for investigation, but he did say he was authorizing prosecutors to “pursue substantial allegations” of irregularities of voting and the counting of ballots.
Richard Pilger, who for years has served as director of the Election Crimes Branch, announced in an internal email that he was resigning from that post after he read the new policy and its ramifications.
Majority of electoral votes
Earlier on Monday, Trump’s campaign filed a lawsuit to block Pennsylvania officials from certifying Biden’s victory in the battleground state.
It alleged the state’s mail-in voting system violated the U.S. Constitution by creating “an illegal two-tiered voting system” where voting in person was subject to more oversight than voting by mail.
It was filed against Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and the boards of elections in Democratic-leaning counties that include Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
The Trump campaign has filed several lawsuits since claiming the election results were flawed. Judges have tossed out lawsuits in Michigan and Georgia, and experts say Trump’s legal efforts have little chance of changing the election result.
Also on Monday, some Republican state legislators in Pennsylvania said they would “call for a legislative-led audit of the 2020 election and demand election results not be certified, nor electors be seated, until the audit is complete.”
Republican Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler, has said the state’s governor certifies the election results and the legislature plays no formal role.
A senior Trump campaign official said the campaign had collected “hundreds” of affidavits from Pennsylvania voters alleging election violations.The campaign is gathering evidence to help make the case that the state’s election was fatally flawed.
Barr’s letter came several hours after he met Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said earlier on Monday that Trump was well within his rights to look into claims of “irregularities” in the election.
Reuters / ABC Flash Point US Election News 2020.