US Attorney General, William Barr, told federal prosecutors on Monday to look into “substantial” allegations of irregularities in last week’s election, prompting the top lawyer overseeing voter fraud investigations to resign in protest.
Barr sent his letter after days of attacks on the integrity of the election by President, Donald Trump, and Republican allies, who have alleged without evidence that there was widespread voter fraud.
Trump has not conceded the election to Democrat, Joe Biden, who on Saturday secured more than the 270 votes in the Electoral College needed to win the presidency.
Barr told prosecutors that “fanciful or far-fetched claims” should not be a basis for investigation and that 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 that he was resigning from that post after he read “the new policy and its ramifications.”