Despite President Trump’s continuous complaints of voter fraud affecting the 2016 presidential election, ThinkProgress‘ Melanie Schmitz reports that the White House contradicted those claims on Tuesday. In a court filing, the White House admitted that it has not uncovered any preliminary findings of voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election, and that it will destroy confidential voter data, rather than transfer the Presidential Advisory Commission’s records to the Department of Homeland Security or another governmental agency.
The president signed a controversial executive order on May 11, 2017, thereby creating the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to identify vulnerabilities in the United States’ voting systems that could lead to voter fraud. This shocking revelation and concession by the White House comes just days after the White House announced that it decided to dissolve the Commission “despite substantial evidence of voter fraud.”
Huffington Post‘s Sam Levine reports that this declaration came in a lawsuit that was filed by Maine’s secretary of state, Matthew Dunlap (D). Dunlap, a commissioner on the Commission for Election Integrity, filed a TRO (temporary restraining order) alleging that he was being excluded from crucial communications and Commission planning. Dunlap allegedly filed the lawsuit to preserve his access to information and documents related to the Commission on Election Integrity.
In response to the TRO, ThinkProgress‘ Melanie Schmitz reports that White House Director of Information Technology Charles C. Herndon contradicted Trump’s continuous claims of rampant voter fraud. “The Commission did not create any preliminary findings,” he stated in the court filing. “In any event, no Commission records or data will be transferred to the DHS or another agency, except to NARA [the National Archives and Records Administration] if required, in accordance with federal law,” he continued.
As recently as January 4, 2018, Kris Kobach (R), the Commission’s vice-chair, told FOX Business that “there is a lot of voter fraud that the Commission uncovered.”
Austin Evers, executive director of Matthew Dunlap’s legal counsel, American Oversight, voiced concerns as to the investigation and objectives of Trump’s Commission on Election Integrity, as reported by Huffington Post‘s Sam Levine. “Either the White House just admitted it lied to the public in an official statement or it just misled the court. Given their record to date, it’s hard to guess which is more likely,” Evers said.
Ultimately, the admission by the White House sheds light and possibly gives foundation as to why the Commission on Election Integrity was abruptly scrapped by Trump just seven days ago. Going forward, however, the revelation of “zero preliminary findings” of voter fraud is certain to play a big role in the battle over voter identification laws, a voting requirement that the president heavily supports.