- Barr’s action comes days after the press claimed Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump and raises the prospect that Trump will use the Justice Department to try to challenge the outcome.
- Trump has not conceded the election and is instead claimed that there has been a widespread, multi-state conspiracy by Democrats to skew the vote tally in Biden’s favor.
Attorney General William Barr signed off on a probe into potential voting irregularities in a memo to attorneys and assistant attorneys general, The Associated Press reported Monday.
Barr wrote that “inquiries and reviews may be conducted 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,” according to the memo, AP News reported.
Barr wrote that any allegations of fraud that might not impact the election should be delayed, AP reported.
In a memo to U.S. attorneys, obtained by The Associated Press, Barr wrote that investigations “may be conducted 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.”
He said any allegations that “clearly not impact the outcome of a federal election” should be delayed until after those elections are certified and prosecutors should likely open so-called preliminary inquiries, which would allow investigators and prosecutors to see if there is evidence that would allow them to take further investigative measures.
“While it is imperative that credible allegations be addressed in a timely and effective manner, it is equally imperative that Department personnel exercise appropriate caution and maintain the Department’s absolute commitment to fairness, neutrality and non-partisanship,” Barr wrote.
Generally, Justice Department policy is “not to conduct overt investigations, including interviews with individual voters, until after the outcome of the election allegedly affected by the fraud is certified.”
But Barr argues in the memo that concerns such acts could inadvertently impact an election are minimized once voting has concluded and that, in some cases, investigations could not be delayed until the election is certified.
A Justice Department official said Barr had not been asked by Trump, anyone else at the White House or any lawmakers to issue the memo. The official could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
The Trump campaign has filed several lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan following Election Day. The campaign announced another lawsuit Monday that seeks to stop Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar from “hurrying” to certify the results of this election.
The Associated Press and Fox News have called the race for President-elect Joe Biden.
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