U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Monday instructed federal prosecutors to investigate “substantial allegations of vote tabulation irregularities” before the election results are certified, going against long-standing Justice Department policy.
Barr wrote the two-page memo as the Trump campaign, President Donald Trump himself and his White House staff make rampant accusations of unlawful activities concerning the election without providing proof after his democratic challenger, Joe Biden, was named president-elect late last week.
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The memo instructs prosecutors to overlook the Justice Department’s policy that states investigations into election fraud should not be pursued until after the results are certified in order to prevent interfering in the process.
In the memo, Barr argued that while the majority of election misconduct investigations could be delayed until after the vote is certified as the scale of the allegations would have no impact on the outcome, others do not.
Barr added that the Justice Department’s impact on the election was minuscule if not nonexistent following the votes being cast.
“Given this, and given that voting in our current elections has not concluded, 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,” he wrote.
The memo follows Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., urging the Department of Justice and the U.S. Postal Service to investigate claims of mail-in ballot mishandling from a Pennsylvania postal worker.
“It is imperative that all credible allegations of voting irregularities and misconduct be investigated to ensure the integrity of the 2020 elections,” Graham wrote in a statement. “The presidential election remains close in multiple states, and as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, all credible allegations of voting irregularities and misconduct will be taken seriously.”
Bob Bauer, an attorney with Biden’s election campaign, said in a statement that it was “deeply unfortunate” that Barr issued the memo as it will likely fuel “specious, speculative or far-fetched claims.”
“Those are the very kind of claims that the president and his lawyers are making unsuccessfully every day, as their lawsuits are laughed out of one court after another,” he said.