Attorney General William Barr clarified comments he made regarding voter fraud during a conversation with The Associated Press published on Tuesday. While he did not back away from his remarks, he emphasized that the Justice Department’s investigation is still ongoing.
The Associated Press released a report in which Barr was quoted as saying that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not yet found evidence that voter fraud occurred on a level that it would impact the result of the election. “To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election,” the attorney general said on Tuesday.
“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,” the attorney general said. “And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that,” he continued.
After the story was covered by multiple news outlets, the DOJ issued a statement insisting that the important words in Barr’s remarks were “to date.”
“Some media outlets have incorrectly reported that the Department has concluded its investigation of election fraud and announced an affirmative finding of no fraud in the election,” a DOJ spokesman stated. “That is not what the Associated Press reported nor what the Attorney General stated. The Department will continue to receive and vigorously pursue all specific and credible allegations of fraud as expeditiously as possible.”
After the AP report made its rounds on social media, members of Trump’s legal team took issue with Barr’s remarks. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and attorney Jenna Ellis released a statement which read, “With the greatest respect to the Attorney General, his opinion appears to be without any knowledge or investigation of the substantial irregularities and evidence of systemic fraud.”
They added, “With all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance of a Department of Justice investigation.”
After Election Day, Barr authorized federal prosecutors to look into any “substantial allegations” of potential wrongdoing regarding the election “if there are clear and apparently-credible allegations of irregularities that, if true, could potentially impact the outcome of a federal election in an individual State.”
The attorney general also told prosecutors that “while serious allegations should be handled with great care, specious, speculative, fanciful or far-fetched claims should not be a basis for initiating federal inquiries.”
The Trump team’s assertions regarding the lack of DOJ investigations appear to be inaccurate; There are clearly prosecutors looking into various claims of voter fraud. But it is also important to note that while Barr acknowledged that prosecutors and the F.B.I. have not uncovered fraud on a level that would have given former Vice President Joe Biden the victory, the investigations have not yet concluded.
Finding voter fraud on the level that Trump’s team alleges is a longshot. But this does not mean that the DOJ won’t find a smoking gun. At this point, it seems that this might be the only chance to overturn the result of the presidential election.
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