Washington, D.C. – In a highly unusual move, 16 assistant U.S. attorneys accuse Attorney General Bill Barr of “partisan political concerns.” A letter signed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys pushes back against Barr’s instructions to hunt for “vote tabulation irregularities.” This is a highly unusual move for such a buttoned-up agency. It’s an ongoing saga of the DOJ and the “unofficial” official election results.
Bill Barr’s Directive
Last week the AG dug into his toolbox to pull out new tactics to bolster Donald Trump’s “rigged election” claims. Barr issued a memo directing his teams to investigate “specific allegations” of election interference and fraud. He especially wanted this done before states certify the results.
Barr’s directive runs counter to established DOJ policies that don’t allow for agency interference in elections. A 2012 DOJ memo reads in part, “…politics must play no role in the decisions of federal investigators or prosecutors regarding any investigations or criminal charges. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors may never select the timing of investigative steps or criminal charges for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party.”
In response to Barr’s directive, Richard Pilger, former head of the DOJ’s Election Crimes unit, stepped down on November 9. Pilger remains at the DOJ in a different role. In his resignation letter, Pilger said, “Having familiarized myself with the new policies and its ramifications…I must regretfully resign my role with the Elections Crimes Branch,” according to reporting by NBC News.
The president and the majority of congressional Republicans are to date unwilling to accept Joe Biden’s win on November 4. While AG Barr continues not to leave any stone unturned on the search for voter fraud, Donald Trump fights on. He has over 30 court cases in play.
The Trump Lawsuits
Several law firms withdrew from representing Trump because of a general opinion that his loss is a done deal. Then, Trump appointed his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to oversee all election litigation. In court, judge after judge has thrown cases out for lack of evidence. Here’s a sampling of how things stand as of this writing:
- Donald Trump is putting up his own money to the tune of $3 million for a recount in two Wisconsin counties.
- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected Trump’s lawsuit asking to have Biden’s win rejected by arguing over election minutia, such as the security of secrecy envelopes. Yet Trump scored a minor win last week when a judge refused to allow mail-in voters who were unable to present the proper identification, extra time to provide it. The move made little difference — Biden still won the state.
- In Michigan, Republican leaders attempted to cast out the results by refusing to certify Biden’s win in Wayne County. After considerable pushback from Democratic leaders as well as citizens, the Republicans fell back. Biden took 68% of the votes in Wayne County.
Despite siccing his twin “pit bulls,” Giuliani and Barr, Donald Trump has no proof of election tampering. Even Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, a Trump loyalist, is fending off Republican attacks. Raffensperger and his wife are receiving death threats while a hand recount is underway. Although a final tally is expected soon, the state does not anticipate a change in the results. Joe Biden turned Georgia blue.
As president, Biden’s work is cut out for him. How will he rebuild credibility both inside and outside of the DOJ? Moving forward, what steps will secretaries of state have to take to push back pressure from partisan lawmakers during elections?
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