William Barr, U.S. attorney general, wears a protective mask while arriving at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020.
Stefani Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The Department of Justice is “looking into” allegations by Republicans that illegal votes were cast in Nevada and Pennsylvania, NBC News reported Tuesday.
The investigations were disclosed after Attorney General William Barr, in a memo, authorized federal prosecutors to probe “specific” claims of voter fraud even before the election results of the race between President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden are certified.
Barr’s Justice Department is eyeing GOP claims that ineligible voters cast ballots in Nevada, and that there was backdating of mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania, a department source told NBC News.
After Barr’s memo, issued Monday, the head of the DOJ division that prosecutes election crimes resigned, in apparent disagreement with the new policy and its ramifications. The official, Richard Pilger, will continue to work within the DOJ.
A DOJ spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.
Trump has refused to concede the election to Biden despite major media organizations, including NBC News, projected Biden as the winner of the Nov. 3 election. That call was made Saturday, after the former vice president was projected to win Pennsylvania’s 20 Electoral College votes.
Biden’s projected win in the Keystone State and in Nevada, which has six Electoral College votes, gave him 279 votes in the Electoral College, nine more than needed to win the White House.
The Trump campaign is waging a multistate legal and procedural battle to invalidate the potentially tens of thousands of popular vote ballots in a handful of states that are giving the Democratic former vice president his margin of victory over Trump in the Electoral College. Biden is also leading in the popular vote by millions of ballots.
Biden’s campaign, Democrats and many legal observers say claims by the Trump campaign that illegal votes led to Biden’s victory are frivolous.
Trump has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that he would win the race if only legal ballots were counted.
The president repeated such claims with rants on Twitter on Tuesday morning. Twitter then labeled two those those tweets with the message: “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”
– Additional reporting by Kevin Breuninger