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Barr Allows Prosecutors To Probe Election Fraud Allegations, Key DOJ Official Resigns In Response

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Barr Allows Prosecutors To Probe Election Fraud Allegations, Key DOJ Official Resigns In Response

William Barr, the U.S. Attorney General appointed by President Donald Trump, authorized federal prosecutors to investigate "substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities" in a memo issued to U.S. attorneys across the country on Monday.

What Happened: Trump has refused to concede defeat to President-elect Joe Biden and has, instead, pushed lawsuits and recounts on allegations of voter fraud.

The memo comes several hours after Barr met Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who said that Trump was within his rights to look into charges of irregularities in the election.

"I authorize you to pursue substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities prior to the certification of elections in your jurisdictions in certain cases, as I have already done in specific instances," Barr wrote in the memo.

The attorney general added that the move shouldn't indicate that the department has concluded that voting irregularities have impacted any election outcome.

In the past, the Justice Department has waited until election results are certified before going for such investigations, the Financial Times noted. Barr's memo notes that he has already authorized certain probes relating to the 2020 election. The Joe Biden campaign's legal advisor Bob Bauer dubbed the move unfortunate, saying, Barr's memo will only fuel the "specious, speculative, fanciful or far-fetched claims." Bauer added that the U.S. democracy is stronger than any cynical partisan political scheme.

Trump tweeted about Barr issuing a memo but didn't comment on it.

Why It Matters: Barr's memo has triggered the resignation of the director of the Election Crimes Branch of the Department of Justice, Richard Pilger. 

Pilger, in a memo to his colleagues, said that his resignation was linked to Barr's memo, NBC News reports. Though Pilger has resigned as director of the branch, he will remain in the justice department in a non-supervisory role, as per FT.

So far, the courts have rejected Trump's legal challenges for lack of evidence, the FT noted. The ongoing litigation has stalled the transition process of a smooth handover of power in January.

Image Courtesy: Wikimedia

 

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