President Donald Trump tweeted this morning that he plans to ask “for a major investigation” into claimed voter fraud following his belief that he lost the popular vote in November’s election because millions of illegal votes were cast.
Trump said in back-to-back tweets that the investigation would cover “those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal” and “those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time).” Trump used all capitals – VOTER FRAUD – for emphasis.
“Depending on results,” Trump tweeted, “we will strengthen up voting procedures!”
Trump said during a private reception with congressional leaders on Monday that there were between 3 million and 5 million ballots illegally cast in the election, allowing his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton to win the popular vote by more than 2.8 million votes, although she lost the electoral vote to Trump.
The National Association of Secretaries of State, which represents many of the country’s state elections officials, said in a statement on Tuesday: “We are not aware of any evidence that supports the voter fraud claims made by President Trump, but we are open to learning more about the administration’s concerns.”
A Trump adviser told The Washington Post on Wednesday that Trump has been stewing about his popular vote count for weeks and insisting to friends that Clinton benefited from illegal votes in Democratic-leaning states like California. He has mentioned to several of them his interest in launching an investigation into possible voter fraud, said the adviser, who was not authorized to speak publicly.
The adviser went on to frame Wednesday’s tweets as a deeply personal move by Trump, reflective of his thinking on the election, and did not have details on whether congressional leaders had been briefed on Trump’s desire to have an investigation, although the adviser said Trump did tell them Monday about his broader concerns regarding the election count during a reception at the White House.
At the Tuesday briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended Trump’s “long-standing belief” and pointed to a study. Spicer said there were no plans for an investigation, but left the option open.
“Maybe we will,” Spicer said. “We’ll see where we go from here, but right now the focus of the president has is on putting Americans back to work.”
When pressed again by reports on the possibility of an investigation, Spicer seemed to downplay the prospect, saying “anything is possible.”
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Jenna Johnson