Speaking to ABC News this Friday, a Justice Department official said Attorney General William Barr “personally briefed” President Trump on the Department’s investigation into a small number of ballots in Pennsylvania that were discarded. Trump then took to Fox News Radio to claim the discovery was confirmation of his unsubstantiated claims of fraud within the mail-in voting process.
“They were Trump ballots — eight ballots in an office yesterday in — but in a certain state and they were — they had Trump written on it, and they were thrown in a garbage can. This is what’s going to happen,” Trump said. “This is what’s going to happen, and we’re investigating that.”
But as ABC News points out, a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Pennsylvania made no mention of fraud, saying it “began an inquiry into reports of potential issues with a small number of mail-in ballots at the Luzerne County Board of Elections,” and discovered the ballots — which were cast for Trump — in a dumpster.
“Our investigation has revealed that all or nearly all envelopes received in the elections office were opened as a matter of course,” U.S. attorney David Freed said. “It was explained to investigators the envelopes used for official overseas, military, absentee and mail-in ballot requests are so similar, that the staff believed that adhering to the protocol of preserving envelopes unopened would cause them to miss such ballot requests.”
Critics of the Trump administration say the White House is using the discarded ballots to boost Trump politically.
“This is an ongoing investigation where there is no public interest reason to override the usual policy of not commenting — and especially not to say for whom the ballots were cast. An unprecedented in kind contribution to the president’s campaign,” Matthew Miller, the former director of the Justice Department’s public affairs office, said on Twitter.
Read the full report over at ABC News.