President Donald Trump declared Wednesday that he is ordering a “major investigation” into widespread voter fraud, raising the prospect of a federal government probe into a widely debunked claim and sparking alarm among experts and Democrats.
Trump announced in a pair of early morning tweets that the investigation will look at those registered to vote in more than one state, “those who are illegal and … even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time).” Depending on results, the Republican tweeted on his sixth day in office, “we will strengthen up voting procedures!” He went further later Wednesday, claiming: “You have people registered in two states. They’re registered in a New York and a New Jersey. They vote twice.” “There are millions of votes, in my opinion,” Trump told ABC. “Of those votes cast, none of them come to me. None of them come to me.” All 50 states and the District of Columbia have finalized their election results with no reports of the kind of widespread fraud that Trump alleges.
Trump is planning to sign an executive action as early as this week commissioning a probe into allegations of voter fraud, according to a person briefed on the decision but not authorized to discuss it publicly.
The White House provided few details on what the probe may entail. Press secretary Sean Spicer would not say whether the investigation would be led by the FBI or some other agency. He said only that its goal would be “to understand where the problem exists and how deep it goes” and that it would not be limited to the 2016 election.
Spicer suggested a task force could be commissioned to focus on dead people who remained on voter rolls and people registered in two or more states. And he said it could center on “bigger” states where Trump didn’t compete during the campaign, singling out California and New York, two Democratic strongholds.