The work of investigating President Trump’s claim that millions of people voted illegally in the last presidential election and cost him the popular vote — an idea he’s presented without providing any evidence — now lies in the hands of officials at the Department of Homeland Security, after Trump disbanded the commission originally charged with the investigation. Trump dissolved the controversial Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity late Wednesday and turned its work over to DHS “rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. Trump’s decision comes after the commission grappled with data security concerns and widespread opposition from state governments, including both Democrats and Republicans, who refused to fulfill the commission’s wide-ranging requests for voter data.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a prominent supporter of stricter voting laws who served as the commission’s vice chair, told Politico he expects Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to take over the commission’s work and start comparing state voter rolls to federal databases of noncitizens.
But whether ICE actually plans to take over the investigation or take a larger role in voting is unknown. In a statement, a DHS spokesman said that Kobach’s job in the federal voter fraud case is done.
“At the President’s direction, the Department continues to work in support of state governments who are responsible for administering elections, with efforts focused on securing elections against those who seek to undermine the election system or its integrity,” Tyler Houlton, an agency spokesman, said.
“Mr. Kobach is not advising the Department on this matter.”