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Topic: prosecutors to pursue 'substantial allegations' of voter fraud despite little ev  (Read 36 times)

cadence4u

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Prosecutors to pursue 'substantial allegations' of voter fraud despite little evidence!

* William Barr sent a memo to allow federal prosecutors to investigate 'substantial allegations' of voter fraud
* Within hours Richard Pilger, Justice Department official who oversees investigations of voter fraud, resigned
* Trump's son, Don Jr, was quick to criticize Pilger online and accused him of being a member of the Deep State
* The president has vowed to fight the expected electoral defeat in the courts

Donald Trump Jr has accused the Justice Department official who oversees investigations of voter fraud of being a member of the 'Deep State', after the official dramatically quit on Monday night.

Richard Pilger resigned after Attorney General William Barr authorized federal prosecutors across the U.S. to pursue 'substantial allegations' of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election is certified, despite little evidence of fraud.

Pilger, director of the Election Crimes Branch of the Department of Justice since 2010, stepped down within hours of Barr's announcement, in an email he sent to colleagues that was obtained by The New York Times.

And President Donald Trump's son, Don Jr, was quick to criticize Pilger.

He wrote: 'Wait. Seriously? Isnít this the guy who was involved with the IRS and Lois Lerner in targeting conservatives and the Tea Party? Maybe thatís why he hasnít done s**t at DOJ. #deepstate'

Trump Jr's tweet refers to a scandal known as the 'IRS targeting controversy', when the department began targeting new tax-exempt groups following a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that allowed them to funnel money into politics.

An investigation into the scandal revealed that groups with 'Tea Party' and associated terms in their names had been put on an IRS list that singled them out for extra scrutiny, leading to accusations of bias.

Lois Lerner, then head of the tax-exempt division at the IRS, had spoken with Richard Pilger over email in 2010, during his first year as head of the election crimes branch of the DoJ.

In the exchange - which came shortly before the midterm elections - they spoke about the possibility of prosecuting groups for abusing their tax-exempt status.

The pair also met around the same time - a meeting was later scrutinized in Congress. Lerner eventually pleaded the Fifth.

Pilger submitted his resignation Monday evening shortly after his boss, Barr, announced the unprecedented federal support for the election investigations - a move which would delight Donald Trump.

In his resignation email, Pilger said Barr's memo was 'an important new policy abrogating the forty-year-old Non-Interference-Policy for ballot fraud investigations in the period prior to elections becoming certified and uncontested.'

He said his resignation was 'in accord with the best tradition of the John C. Keeney Award for Exceptional Integrity and Professionalism (my most cherished Departmental recognition).'

Barr's memo angered legal experts, who pointed out that any issues around voting are handled at the state level and should not be considered a federal matter.

Several analysts said that Barr was at serious risk of dragging the Department of Justice into a highly partisan electoral war, waged through the courts.

Pilger, whose 25-year career has been devoted to election crimes and public corruption, told his colleagues in the email on Monday evening that he was quitting, in a sign of how worried many within the legal community are at Barr's unprecedented behavior.

Barr's action comes days after Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump and raises the prospect that Trump will use the Justice Department to try to challenge the outcome.

It gives prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election is formally certified.

In his memo, Barr argues that the existing 'passive and delayed enforcement approach' could undermine the vote.

He says that the precedent should be ignored, and investigations conducted rigorously before the certification of votes on December 8.

'In instances where they are consulted, the ECB's (Election Crimes Branch) general practice has been to counsel that overt investigative steps ordinarily should not be taken until the election in question has been concluded, its results certified and all recounts and election contests concluded,' he wrote.

'Such a passive and delayed enforcement approach can result in situations in which election misconduct cannot realistically be rectified.'

A Justice Department official told the New York Times that Barr had authorized scrutiny of allegations about ineligible voters in Nevada and backdated mail-in ballots Pennsylvania.

Trump has not conceded the election and is instead claiming without evidence that there has been a widespread, multi-state conspiracy by Democrats to skew the vote tally in Biden's favor.

Biden holds a sizable lead in multiple battleground states and there has been no indication of enough improperly counted or illegally cast votes that would shift the outcome.

Election officials from both political parties have publicly stated the election went well, though there have been minor issues that are typical in elections, including voting machines breaking and ballots that were miscast and lost.

Trump has not conceded the election and is instead claiming without evidence that there has been a widespread, multi-state conspiracy by Democrats to skew the vote tally in Biden's favor.

Biden holds a sizable lead in multiple battleground states and there has been no indication of enough improperly counted or illegally cast votes that would shift the outcome.

Election officials from both political parties have publicly stated the election went well, though there have been minor issues that are typical in elections, including voting machines breaking and ballots that were miscast and lost.

States have until December 8 to resolve election disputes, including recounts and court contests over the results.

Members of the Electoral College meet on December 14 to finalize the outcome.

Pilger's resignation was taken as a very worrying sign from people who had worked alongside him.

Steve Dettelback, former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, said he had first crossed paths with Pilger 30 years ago and described him as 'a great prosecutor'.

'Shame on the political "leadership" at DOJ,' he said.

Noah Bookbinder, a former federal prosecutor who is now the Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), said: 'Richard Pilger is a respected apolitical attorney who has been a federal corruption prosecutor for decades (including when I was one years ago).

'His resigning in protest makes clear to me that something very wrong indeed is happening here.'

Another former colleague, former federal prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg, added: 'I also worked with Richard Pilger at Public Integrity. He is someone with an outstanding reputation.

'If he feels the need to step down, something bad is happening.'

Their concern was echoed by political figures.

Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that Barr was 'the president's puppet' and was deliberately undermining the election.

Chris Murphy, Senator for Connecticut, said it was 'sad' how many public servants were forced out.

Preet Bharara, the former US attorney for the Southern District of New York - until he was fired by Trump - said he expected the resignation of Pilger would lead to a Senate inquiry.

'Who will be the first Senator to call for an Inspector General investigation over the AG Barr memo that just prompted the head of the Election Crimes Branch at DOJ to step down?' he wondered.

Gene Rossi, a former federal prosecutor, told Law&Crime Network that the 'Justice Department is not Trump's toy - and Barr should not act like the president's binky.'

He added: 'Just when we thought that the most politically compliant Attorney General in modern times would go quietly into the night, Bill Barr rises from his bunker and shocks us again.'

National security lawyer Bradley P. Moss told Law&Crime: 'This is getting rather dangerously close to the line of unlawful political interference by the Justice Department.'

He pointed out the voting irregularities were usually resolved at the state level.

'The federal government has very little role in the conduct of our elections, and there is no indication that the various quixotic lawsuits being filed in the states can't resolve this issue just fine without intervention by DOJ,' Moss said.

'Hopefully this is simply more 'election theater' by AG Barr to assuage the president's fragile ego than anything else.'

Biden is ahead by 43,000 votes in Pennsylvania, 148,000 votes in Michigan, 34,000 votes in Nevada and 13,000 votes in Arizona, with ballots still being counted.

Even if all of Trump's current challenges are successful, experts believe they are unlikely to overcome those margins. The campaign has promised more challenges to come.

The Trump campaign has said it will order a recount in Wisconsin, where Biden is up by 20,000 votes, and is likely in Georgia, where he is currently up by 10,000, but they are unlikely to overturn those results. The Trump camp is furiously raising money it says will go to the effort.

The Trump campaign has yet to produce any evidence to back its claims of widespread fraud.

Resignation letter from the director of the Election Crimes Branch
"Attached please find the Attorney General's Memorandum of today entitled 'Post-Voting Election Irregularity Inquiries', an important new policy abrogating the forty-year-old Non-Interference-Policy for ballot fraud investigations in the period prior to elections becoming certified and uncontested. Federal Prosecution of Election Offenses, pp. 84-85 (8th Ed. 2017).

"Having familiarized myself with the new policy and its ramifications, and in accord with the best tradition of the John C. Keeney Award for Exceptional Integrity and Professionalism (my most cherished Departmental recognition), I must regretfully resign from my role as Director of the Electoral Crimes Branch.

"I have enjoyed very much working with you for over a decade to aggressively and diligently enforce federal criminal election law, policy and practice without partisan fear or favor.

"I thank you for your support in that effort.

"The Acting Director of the Election Crimes Branch going forward will be PIN Deputy Chief Robert J. Heberle. Deputy Director Sean F. Mulryne will remain in his position.

"Please give them both the same support that I have enjoyed, and rest assured that the Public Integrity Section remains committed to operating properly in all of its functions.

"Best wishes, RCP."






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