U.S. Attorney General William Barr confirmed on Tuesday that the Justice Department has found no evidence of widespread voter fraud or election tampering on a scale that could change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Barr's statement comes amid President Donald Trump's ongoing claims that the election was "rigged," "stolen" or fraudulent in one way or another.
"To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election," Barr said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. He said that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been following up on specific complaints and tips around the country, but so far have found no voter fraud on a significant scale. Barr's input was a surprise to some Americans, since he has been such a staunch ally of Trump.
Like other members of the Trump administration, Barr erroneous concerns about the security of mail-in ballots before the election, signaling that he might stick to Trump's chosen messaging — even when it veered far from the facts. Critics were similarly concerned when Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys around the country last month, calling on them to pursue all "substantial allegations" of irregularities in the election quickly before the results could be officially certified.
That order reportedly gave prosecutors the power to subvert Justice Department policies that usually prevent them from getting so involved with election results before they are certified. However, even having gone to these lengths, the prosecutors and Barr's team found nothing.
Even Barr's input did not stop or even slow the president's tirade against the election results, however. On Tuesday, Trump spent much of the day live-tweeting a televised event in Michigan, where people gathered to share unsubstantiated rumors of voter fraud. The event was broadcast by One America News Network — a conservative talk show channel that has come under fire in recent years for promoting conspiracy theories.
Trump is now contradicting his own Justice Department with these claims, as well as election officials everywhere and other investigative teams. However, unless something new and monumental turns up soon, Trump will be out of office in January and President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.