Federal prosecutors will investigate any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities after attorney general William Barr authorized a Department of Justice probe into the 2020 presidential election results, according to reports.
In a memo to US attorneys, obtained by The Associated Press, Mr Barr wrote that the DOJ could conduct investigations “if there are clear and apparently-credible allegations of irregularities that, if true, could potentially impact the outcome of a federal election in an individual state”.
The action allows prosecutors to circumvent longstanding policy that would otherwise prevent dramatic actions being taken between the day of the election and the formal certification of results.
The president indicated on the weekend that he would contest the results of the election and continue to push his claims that voter fraud swung key states in the Democrats’ direction.
The Trump campaign on Monday filed a number of lawsuits in Michigan and Pennsylvania alleging voting irregularities, with the GOP saying they had obtained 131 affidavits in Detroit to challenge the results.
In Pennsylvania, meanwhile, campaign general counsel Matthew Morgan said they have filed two lawsuits with the US District Court against the secretary of state alleging violation of equal access and equal protection.
While the campaign’s press conference announcing the lawsuits was heavy on allegations, it was light on providing specific evidence to substantiate the claims.
The wording of Mr Barr’s memo suggests “credible allegations” will be enough to open investigations to confirm if any evidence does or does not exist.
The states have until 8 December to resolve election disputes while members of the Electoral College have until 14 December to finalize the results. In the last contested election, Al Gore refused to concede to George W Bush until 13 December.
GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said a whistleblower complaint from a City of Detroit election worker that alleged back-dating of ballots would form part of the campaign’s investigation.
“How is it a conspiracy when a whistleblower from the City of Detroit is saying ‘I was told by my supervisors to lie and backdate ballots, this is somebody protected by the law, there’s no conspiracy there,” she said.