US election: Justice lawyer quits after legal professional normal orders ‘vote fraud’ inquiries

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US election: Justice lawyer quits after attorney general orders 'vote fraud' inquiries

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  • US election 2020

Media signatureMitch McConnell: “Trump 100 percent right to investigate electoral irregularities” *: not ([hidden]): not (style) ~ *: not ([hidden]): not (style) {margin-top: 1rem;}]]>

US Attorney General William Barr allowed prosecutors to investigate suspected irregularities in the presidential election, prompting a senior Justice Department official to resign.

Officer Richard Pilger would have overseen such investigations.

Such cases would normally fall under the jurisdiction of individual states, but Mr Barr said this is not a hard and fast rule.

Donald Trump refuses to accept Joe Biden’s planned victory and has made unfounded fraud claims.

The president’s campaign seeks an injunction in Pennsylvania to prevent Mr. Biden’s victory from being confirmed in the state.

The president-elect’s planned victory on Saturday put him above the 270 electoral college vote required for a nationwide victory.

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Mr Trump’s spokeswoman vowed the legal battle over Mr Biden’s victory had only just begun.

“This election is not over yet,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a press conference. “Far from it.”

What is Mr. Barr saying?

The attorney general wrote that the federal prosecutor’s office could investigate “if there are clear and apparently credible allegations of irregularities which, if any, could potentially affect the outcome of a federal election in a particular state”.

Image rightsEPAImage descriptionMr. Barr warned against investigating “fanciful” claims

Mr Barr said prosecutors should only deal with “material allegations” of irregularities and that “flimsy, speculative, fanciful or far-fetched allegations” should be ignored.

He acknowledged that states had primary responsibility for conducting elections, but said the Justice Department “has an obligation to ensure that federal elections are conducted in a way that the American people can have complete confidence in their electoral process and government.” “. .

The department would normally not go beyond preliminary investigations until an election was finalized and the results confirmed, but Mr Barr said this could lead to situations where “wrongdoing cannot realistically be corrected”.

Mr. Pilger said he resigned in response to Mr. Barr’s memo.

“Unfortunately, after I have become familiar with the new policy and its implications … I have to step down from my role,” he wrote in an email to colleagues.

Separately, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in federal court in Pennsylvania on Monday to obtain an injunction designed to prevent state officials from confirming Mr Biden’s victory in the state. Attorney General Josh Shapiro called the lawsuit “unfounded”.

Prosecutors in Republican-controlled states have now campaigned for the president’s election results.

The 10 attorneys general submitted an amicus letter to the US Supreme Court supporting the Trump campaign case in Pennsylvania.

What are Biden and Trump doing?

Since the media forecast on Saturday that Mr Biden won the critical state of Pennsylvania and garnered enough votes to claim the White House, the president-elect has pushed ahead with his plans to take power.

Mr Trump went back to Twitter on Monday to deny the outcome, making unsubstantiated claims of “unthinkable and illegal” activity in the vote.

The General Services Administration (GSA), which manages the federal agencies, has denied Biden aides the formal start of the transition, stating that no “determination” has yet been made about an election winner.

The GSA’s role is to officially recognize the President-Elect and to provide the funds and access to federal agencies that Mr Biden’s transition team needs.

In previous elections, it has acted for the most part as soon as the winner was announced, with the exception of the controversial election in 2000 when it waited for a December 14th Supreme Court ruling to rule on the outcome.

The BBC’s U.S. partner, CBS News, says the Biden team is considering its legal options if the Trump administration continues to hold off the handover.

White House reporters have said that despite his objections, Mr Trump is likely to reluctantly step down in January and is already talking about running for the White House again in 2024.

What does the Trump campaign claim?

At Monday’s press conference, Ms. McEnany and Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Ronna McDaniel cited allegations of election corruption and urged reporters to help investigate the unverified allegations.

Conservative broadcaster Fox News cut off the event, citing the lack of evidence.

Media signature“My Message to Republican Friends”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” said host Neil Cavuto. “Unless of them [Ms McEnany] has more details to back it up, I can’t go on showing you that in a good face. “

Ms. McEnany told reporters, “We have only just started getting an accurate, honest number of votes.”

She said Republican election observers had not been given proper access to vote counts in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Both Republican and Democratic election observers were kept 4 to 30 meters from tables where votes were being counted in the city, and local election officials cited the need for coronavirus prevention for distancing, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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Ms. McEnany also said that electoral officials in this key state have allowed a disproportionate number of Democrats to correct or “cure” incorrectly completed ballots.

According to the investigator, some Pennsylvania counties allowed voters to amend such errors while others did not.

Ms. McDaniel said they collected 131 affidavits or signed affidavits as part of their investigation into suspected electoral irregularities in Michigan.

“If the shoe were on the other foot,” she said, “if it were this close, if President Trump were at the forefront in all of these states … the media would scream,” This is not over yet. ” “

What about censuses in the other states?

The results of the presidential elections last Tuesday from the states of Georgia, Arizona, North Carolina and Alaska are still pending.

In Georgia, where the balance sheet continues and Mr Biden is in the lead, his state secretary hit back on Monday against other Republicans who criticized his electoral treatment.

Brad Raffensperger, whose office is overseeing Georgia’s election, said, “Were there any illegal votes? I’m sure they did. And my office is investigating everything.

“Given the Georgian electoral votes, does it increase the number or the margin needed to change the outcome to where President Trump is? That is unlikely.”

States must resolve recounts and legal battles over the results by December 8th. The outcome will be finalized when members of the US Electoral College meet on December 14th.

How do top Republicans react?

Senior members of the presidential party have largely refused to press Mr. Trump into concession.

Senate Chairman Mitch McConnell on Monday beat up the Democrats on the matter.

“Let’s not give lectures, not lectures,” said the Kentucky Senator on the floor of the upper chamber, “on how the President should immediately and cheerfully accept preliminary election results from the same people who had just refused for four years accept the validity. ” of the last election and who assumed that it would also be illegitimate if they lost again – only if they lost. “

He added, “The President has the right to investigate allegations and request recounts under the law, and the Constitution in particular does not play a role in this process for wealthy media companies.”

the next steps

  • December 8th: All recounts and certification of results must be done by the states
  • December 14: Members of the electoral college meet in state capitals to officially cast their votes for the president and vice president
  • January 6th: Joint meeting of the House of Representatives and the Senate to count the votes
  • January 20: New President sworn in

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