(Dec. 1) President Trump should heed Attorney General William Barr’s announcement that the Justice Department has not found enough evidence of vote fraud to change the presidential election result.

“To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,” Barr told the Associated Press. Specifically addressing the wild claims that Trump’s opponents used a ballot-counting software to alter millions of votes, Barr added: “The [Department of Homeland Security] and [Department of Justice] have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”

To be clear, Barr was not shy about looking for fraud. Last month, he issued a controversial but entirely appropriate directive to U.S. attorneys nationwide to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities. That was more than three weeks ago. What he now says is that while he cannot completely rule out the legitimacy of civil claims that significant irregularities occurred, the accusations of criminal conduct of a scale that would change the election “have been run down … [and] followed up on.” And they were found lacking.

This does not mean there is no merit to some claims of fraud or major human error. It means only that the evidence of criminal wrongdoing, if any, is too slender to put Trump over the top. The Justice Department may prosecute particular instances of fraud, if any, later, but Trump’s only recourse for staying in office will remain in civil courts.

Barr is, of course, seen as a very Trump-friendly Cabinet member. For good reason, Barr believes that vote fraud is a very real problem and that widespread mail-in balloting makes such fraud or widespread error more likely. For both of those reasons, Barr’s new statement, even hedged as it is, should help tamp down some of the feverish conspiracy theories being pushed by pro-Trump bitter-enders….

[The full column is here.]


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