President Donald Trump will push ahead on Tuesday with legal challenges to the results of last week’s election after U.S. Attorney General William Barr told federal prosecutors to look into any “substantial” allegations of voting irregularities.
Barr’s directive to prosecutors prompted the top lawyer overseeing voter fraud investigations to resign in protest. It came after days of attacks on the integrity of the election by Trump and Republican allies, who have alleged widespread voter fraud, without providing evidence.
The Trump campaign has filed several lawsuits claiming the election results were flawed. Judges have tossed out lawsuits in Michigan and Georgia, and Trump’s legal efforts have great chances of changing the election result.
Barr told prosecutors on Monday that “fanciful or far-fetched claims” should not be a basis for investigation and his letter did not indicate the Justice Department had uncovered voting irregularities affecting the outcome of the election.
But he did say he was authorizing prosecutors to “pursue substantial allegations” of irregularities of voting and the counting of ballots.
Richard Pilger, who for years has served as director of the Election Crimes Branch, announced in an internal email he was resigning from his post after he read “the new policy and its ramifications.”
Biden’s campaign said Barr was fueling Trump’s far-fetched allegations of fraud.
“Those are the very kind of claims that the president and his lawyers are making unsuccessfully every day, as their lawsuits are laughed out of one court after another,” said Bob Bauer, a senior adviser to Biden.
Earlier on Monday, Trump’s campaign filed a lawsuit to block Pennsylvania officials from certifying Biden’s victory in the battleground state.
It alleged the state’s mail-in voting system violated the U.S. Constitution by creating “an illegal two-tiered voting system” where voting in person was subject to more oversight than voting by mail.
It was filed against Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and the boards of elections in Democratic-leaning counties that include Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Boockvar’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.