In audio obtained by the Guardian, vice-president described investigation amid Trumps unfounded claims that millions voted illegally in 2016 election
Vice-President Mike Pence said that the Trump administration will initiate a full evaluation of voting rolls in the country and the overall integrity of our voting system in the wake of this past election, according to audio obtained by the Guardian.
Trump has pledged an investigation of voter fraud in the wake of his unfounded claims that between 3 million and 5 million fraudulent votes were cast in the 2016 election. In response to a question from Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama, who described Trump as being spot on on the issue, Pence described the investigation that the administration is planning on undertaking. The vice-president, who focused on a Pew Research Center report often cited by Trump that referenced issues with faulty voter registrations, pledged to members of Congress: Well be looking at ways to work with you and follow the facts and see where the facts go.
The White House is expected to release an executive order on voter fraud in the coming days. Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, described the effort to reporters on Wednesday as an attempt to understand where the problem exists, how deep it goes. Spicer indicated that potential fraud only happened in the bigger states.
In recent days, it has been reported that a number of Trump aides have been registered to vote in multiple states, the issue that the president has been most vocal about. These include top adviser Steve Bannon as well as others in his circle, including his daughter, Tiffany; his son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and Steven Mnuchin, his nominee for treasury secretary. Having multiple voter registrations is not illegal, and there is no evidence that any of these individuals violated election law by casting multiple ballots in the same election.
In two tweets earlier this week, Trump said, I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!
Trump won the electoral college in November but lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by about 3m votes. Without any evidence, he claimed last year that millions of illegal immigrants had cast ballots and that he otherwise would have won the popular vote. His rhetoric on the topic echoed claims of a rigged election that Trump had made throughout the campaign.
The presidents claims of voter fraud have earned condemnation from both Democrats and Republicans, who argue that the allegations threaten to undermine voters confidence in the process.
Lindsey Graham, a senator for South Carolina, urged Trump to cease making these kinds of statements, saying, I wasnt there, but if the president of the United States is claiming that 3.5 million people voted illegally, that shakes confidence in our democracy he needs to disclose why he believes that.
Graham continued: I would urge the president to knock this off; this is the greatest democracy on Earth, were the leader of the free world, and people are going to start doubting you as a person if you keep making accusations against our electoral system without justification. This is going to erode his ability to govern this country if he does not stop it.
House speaker Paul Ryan also distanced himself from Trumps claims, saying: I have no way of backing that up.