For decades, federal prosecutors have been told not to hold election fraud investigations in the months leading up to the election, fearing they could reduce voter turnout or lose confidence in the results. Now, the judiciary has lifted the ban just weeks before the presidential election.
President Trump and Attorney General William B. Barr has promoted a false story that voter fraud is widespread, undermining American confidence in elections.
A judicial lawyer in Washington said in a note to prosecutors on Friday that it could investigate allegations of election fraud before the ballots were scheduled. It’s a reverse Decade-long policy It has largely banned the aggressive conduct of such inquiries during campaigns, preventing the public from becoming “likely to provoke formal voting and campaigning” or “interfere with the investigation as an issue” for voters.
This memo creates an “exception to the rule of not interfering in election policy in general” to suspicions of electoral fraud, especially the misconduct of federal government employees, including postal or military employees; Both groups send mail-in votes. Exceptions allow investigators to take transparent investigative measures, such as interrogating witnesses Previously there were no limits In such inquiries until the election results are certified.
The move allows prosecutors to see election fraud in the weeks leading up to the November 3 vote. Craig Carbonito, an American lawyer in New Jersey, Encouraged arrest Wednesday They were found and placed in the mail, including dozens of ballots from a postal worker suspected of rejecting the mail.
The New York Times reviewed parts of the memo. Propolica Previously announced Its details are Wednesday.
The long-standing standard of the judiciary prevents investigators from taking any action related to the election or candidates within one or two months of election day, out of concern that even the notion of law enforcement involvement could destroy confidence in the vote. Former FBI Director James P. Comey also announced that the bureau would not recommend charges in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server. He was also widely criticized in 2016 for reopening the case 11 days before Trump’s regret.
The judiciary said the new department was not a political act and that no political appointment would direct, produce or publish it.
“Professional attorneys in the public integrity division of the department’s criminal division send out guidelines on the field during election periods,” department spokesman Matt Lloyd said. “This email is part of the ongoing process of providing regular guidance on election – related matters.”
Department officials said that as part of a detailed explanation of election-related fraud, a professional lawyer in the Criminal Division advised all U.S. attorneys on the matter during the summer and that the department has always recognized that there are exceptions to the policy.
The new guidance Mr. Trump’s political appointments, led by Mr Barr, have sparked fears that he is using the power of the judiciary to assist his re-election effort. Democrats from the Republican and Democratic administrations, civil rights advocates and former department officials are on alert for the Service Department’s extraordinary political moves that this year’s relentless – and erroneous – American electoral system is being widely undermined. Fraud.
In particular, they are wary of late-breaking cases based on voter fraud allegations that make more headlines than substantial allegations. Republicans have been trying for years to put forward the idea that there is a voter fraud problem in the United States.
Mr. Conservative efforts to detect voter fraud have gone too fast in Trump’s presidency and re-election. Shortly after defeating Ms Clinton in 2016, she appointed a believer to investigate the matter, claiming that millions of Americans had voted against her illegally. Mr. There is no evidence to support Trump’s argument. But that doesn’t stop him from repeating the claims over and over again, especially as he has been campaigning in recent months.
Democrats and election and legal experts Mr. Mr. Trump and Mr.
Joyce Vance, a former U.S. attorney in Alabama under the Obama administration, said the judiciary could “make a statement that mail voting was rigged without any evidence.
“They have told us that this is their strategy and we are watching them implement it,” Ms Vance said.
Wendy R., director of the Brennan Center’s Democratic Project for Justice. Weiser said he did not believe he deserved the justification for changing the policy. “If they want to prevent the misconduct they are concerned about, they can remind people of the law and announce that any violators will be prosecuted for the full extent of the law,” he said. “There is no need for an exception to this long-standing and prudent policy.”
Some election experts have suggested that the new policy on election fraud investigations, Mr. He said it was completely different after Kami’s impact.
“Historically, the DOJ sought to avoid taking any action that could influence an election, and therefore, for example, to hold charges or to announce investigations that could have an impact on elections,” said law professor Richard L. Hassan said. University of California, Irvine.
He predicted that the memo would lead to a number of announcements, such as what a federal lawyer in Pennsylvania revealed very unusual last month. Who detail Open voter fraud investigation on nine rejected votes. Although the state’s top election official later said the episode was “a terrible mistake” and “not intentional fraud,” Mr Mail said the mail-in vote was rife with fraud. This revelation helped to expose Trump’s false claims.
For revealing an open investigation, Mr. He said the announcement was unusual for revealing that some ballots had been cast for Trump, and that factual experts were unimportant to the investigation and had helped feed off his unsubstantiated attacks on postal-voting.
Policy change, Mr. Hassan said, “Most of these announcements are encouraging. These little things will be considered evidence of fraud and then raised to a higher level.”
Mr. Bar also echoed the president’s claims about voter fraud.
In recent weeks, the Attorney General has not been supported by evidence that voting by mail can lead to fraud and abuse. In an interview with CNN last month, he stressed that the judiciary has charged a man who collected nearly 2,000 votes from people who could not vote in Texas and voted illegally for the candidate he wanted.
After the Washington Post Questioned the account, A department spokesman said there was no such allegation and that Mr Barr had relied on a memo with false information.
He also said there was no “empirical evidence” that mail-in votes could lead to mass voter fraud, pointing to “common sense” instead.
During an event at Hillstale College last month he said: “At this level, you have no empirical evidence that these issues have been resolved.
In an extraordinary show of disobedience, federal prosecutors Massachusetts And In Seattle Mr. Barr has publicly accused Trump of acting primarily on behalf of the campaign, citing his decision to intervene in cases against the president’s allies. Trump has multiplied the criticisms leveled against Black Lives Matter in the course of the campaign.
One of them, Michael Dion, a Letter to the Seattle Times Mr. Barr has turned the judiciary into a “shield to protect the president and his aides.”
“Bar does these things because his goal is to protect his master more than the American people,” Mr Diane wrote. A judicial spokesman declined to comment on the letters.
Nick Coronetti and Jim Rutenberg contributed to the reporting.
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