More than 48 hours since the race was called for Biden, Trump is still refusing to accept his defeat. Now his administration is offering the president its full support as he continues to question the legitimacy of the election, mounting a sweeping effort to root out the “fake votes” Trump says cost him his re-election.
On Monday evening, Attorney General William Barr gave the Department of Justice the OK to investigate allegations of “vote tabulation irregularities” which he says are “substantial” despite no evidence to that effect.
Barr issued the directive in a two-page memo, much of which is spend explaining his decision to flout the well-established precedent that federal prosecutors not launch probes into voter fraud until after the election results are certified. Barr argues that such probes may be conducted, however, “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.”
The problem is, there’s nothing that suggests the existence of any widespread voter fraud, nor does Barr mention any such incidents of supposed fraud in his memo, according to the Associated Press.
Barr is just the latest Trump loyalist to bend to the whims of the president, who continues to make baseless allegations about the integrity of the election on Twitter and through his press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. In an interview with the Washington Post, one senior Republican official said that Trump’s inner circle was simply “humoring” the president by allowing him to pursue legal battles that won’t amount to anything.
“What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time?” the official told the Post. “It’s not like he’s plotting how to prevent Joe Biden from taking power on Jan. 20. He’s tweeting about filing some lawsuits, those lawsuits will fail, then he’ll tweet some more about how the election was stolen, and then he’ll leave.”
In reality there are significant consequences to Trump refusing to concede, starting with the fact that many crucial aspects of the presidential transition process can’t officially begin until he does.
“[It’s] deeply unfortunate that Attorney General Barr chose to issue a memorandum that will only fuel the ‘specious, speculative, fanciful or far-fetched claims’ he professes to guard against,” Bob Bauer, Biden’s campaign attorney, said in a statement on Monday.
“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,” he continued. “But, in the end, American democracy is stronger than any clumsy and cynical partisan political scheme.”