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Barr Allows Probes Into Voting Outcome Despite Lack of Evidence

November 10, 2020by Chris Strohm, Bloomberg News
U.S. Attorney General William Barr arrives at an Abraham Accords Signing Ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William Barr authorized Justice Department officials to open inquiries into potential irregularities in the presidential election, while acknowledging there’s no conclusive evidence.

Barr issued a memo on Monday evening authorizing U.S. attorneys across the country, as well as his top lieutenants, “to pursue substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities prior to the certification of elections in your jurisdictions in certain cases.”

“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,” Barr wrote. “Nothing here should be taken as any indication that the department has concluded that voting irregularities have impacted the outcome of any election.”

Barr has been one of the most ardent and aggressive supporters of President Donald Trump, and his message comes as Trump and his legal team make so far unsubstantiated claims that there was widespread voter fraud.

Kerri Kupec, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said that neither Trump nor anyone at the White House nor lawmakers had asked Barr to take the action.

Before the election, Barr had echoed Trump’s unsupported claims that mail-in ballots were subject to fraud, including ballots cast by foreign governments seeking to influence the election. But he had remained silent in the days just before and after last week’s election, until now.

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(c)2020 Bloomberg News

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