The Washington Post issued an extensive fact-check for President Donald Trump's false claims that the November election will be rigged because mail-in-ballots can't be trusted and will be falsified.
Ahead of heading to the hospital, Trump told top strategist and Fox News host Sean Hannity that it would take days or weeks before it is known who won the November election. He then falsely claimed that it would thus be fraudulent.
“There will be [fraud],” he told Hannity. “Just take a look at New York. Take a look at the ones — the ballots that were thrown into a garbage can and they all had the Trump name on it. They were military ballots that were thrown into the garbage can. The ones that were on a tray, and they were thrown into a creek or a river. It’s a terrible thing. And if you look at Carolyn Maloney, what they did to that guy that ran against her, it's a disgrace. That's in New York. And that's only for a congressional race. They have no idea where the votes are, where the ballots are. This is going to be all over. This is in Virginia. This is in New Jersey. It's a very, very sad thing."
Trump's obvious strategy is to falsely allege fraud and use that as a justification for disputing the election while ballots are being counted. It's a tactic that former Army prosecutor Glenn Kirschner said will get Trump laughed out of court, but that doesn't mean he won't attempt it.
"In North Carolina, for example, his campaign is pressuring county elections officials to ignore counting rules with the rationale that doing so protects voter intent," the Post said.
The other problem for Trump is that none of the claims he made to Hannity are examples of fraud.
In the example he cited about Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Trump has conflated a slow count with fraud. Not counting fast enough for Trump's standards isn't voter fraud, as long as the count is finalized by the deadlines in the law, there's nothing wrong with it. The Republican who ran against Maloney, Suraj Patel, even rejects the president's assessment of the race.
Let’s be clear, the issue in my race was disenfranchisement, not voter fraud. More than 1 in 5 ballots were discard… https://t.co/aRYuHqgVbe— Suraj Patel (@Suraj Patel)1601433944.0
Trump went on to lie that no one knows where the ballots in that race are. The votes were all obtained through the ballots, which were counted. Patel wanted all of the ballots to be counted even if those ballots were determined to be fraudulent by the clerk.
Trump also claimed that there were military ballots found in a trash can in a Republican-leaning Pennsylvania county. There's no evidence of fraud in that case either.
“The investigation is still going on, but from the initial reports we’ve been given, this was a bad error,” Kathy Boockvar, Department of State as Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, said. “This was not intentional fraud. So training, training, training.”
Another case Trump cited was a conspiracy theory about ballots in Wisconsin found in a ditch. It's outright false, there were no ballots found in a ditch.
In some re-tellings of those stories, Trump exaggerates even further about the conspiracy theories he created.
"In other words, Trump’s repeated fraud allegations come down to broad insinuations, unfounded allegations or questions about hundreds of votes in the race for Paterson, N.J.'s, Third Ward city council seat," said the Post. "To some extent, this is itself the strategy: throw out a flurry of scary-sounding claims that are only debunked later, whipping up a dust storm of uncertainty that even if proved false contributes to the sort of turmoil Trump is relying on to contest mail-in ballots."
Trump told Hannity that somehow the press is complicit and knows what's happening. But the Post closed by saying, "The press does know what’s going on, and it is, in fact, a shame."