The development came as President Donald Trump has refused to concede to his Democratic rival and incumbent President-elect Joe Biden. Meanwhile Barr’s announcement prompted the resignation of senior Justice Department official Richard Pilger…reports Asian Lite Newsdesk
US Attorney General William Barr has allowed prosecutors to launch a probe into alleged irregularities in the recently-concluded 2020 presidential election, the media reported on Tuesday.
The development came as President Donald Trump has refused to concede to his Democratic rival and incumbent President-elect Joe Biden, who was projected the winner of the November 3 election after crossing the threshold of 270 electoral college votes needed to secure victory.
In a memo, Barr authorised federal prosecutors “to pursue substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities prior to the certification of elections in your jurisdictions in certain cases, as I have already done inspecific instances”.
“Such inquiries and reviews may be conducted if there are clear and apparently credible allegations of irregularities that, if true, could potentially impact the outcome of a federal election in an individual state,” he added.
While acknowledging it was imperative that “credible allegations be addressed in a timely and effective manner”, Barr noted that it was “equally imperative that Department personnel exercise appropriate caution and maintain absolute commitment to fairness, neutrality and non-partisanship”.
“While serious allegations should be handled with great care, specious, speculative, fanciful or far fetched claims should not be a basis for initiating federal inquiries,” he added.
DOJ official resigned
Barr’s announcement prompted the resignation of senior Justice Department official Richard Pilger, who would have overseen such investigations, the BBC reported.
“Having familiarised myself with the new policy and its ramifications… I must regretfully resign from my role,” he was quoted as saying in an email to colleagues just hours after the announcement.
Also on Monday, the Trump re-election campaign filed a lawsuit in a Pennsylvania federal court, seeking an emergency injunction to stop state officials from certifying Biden’s victory in the key swing state.
But the state’s Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, called the lawsuit “meritless”.
Meanwhile, atates must resolve recounts and court contests over the final outcome by December 8.
The outcome will be finalised when members of the US Electoral College meet on December 14.
Fox News cut away
Fox News cut away from a live briefing by White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany as she accused the Democrats of fraud and illegal voting.
As the network cut away from Monday’s briefing, Fox News host Neil Cavuto said: “She is charging that the other side is welcoming fraud and welcoming illegal voting. Unless she has more details to back that up, I can’t in good countenance continuing showing you this.
“Maybe they do have something to back that up, but that’s an explosive charge to make that the other side is effectively rigging and cheating.”
At the briefing, McEnany declared that the presidential election is “not over” and that Republicans had “only begun the process of obtaining an accurate, honest vote count”, The Hill news website reported.
“You don’t take these positions because you want an honest election,”she said and accused Democrats of “welcoming fraud” and “welcoming illegal voting”.
When asked if she knew that fraudulent ballots were cast, the Press Secretary said: “What we are asking for right now is patience as we explore these equal protection claims among others.”
The development comes as President Donald Trump has refused to concede to his Democratic rival and incumbent President-elect Joe Biden, who was declared as the winner of the November election by major news networks, reports The Hill news.
Biden has been projected as the winner in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Wisconsin, and also holds leads in Arizona and Georgia.