President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are beginning the first steps in their transition plan even as President Donald Trump has refused to concede the election.
Biden was projected to win the presidency on Saturday but Trump has continued to contest the outcome, promoting unfounded claims of voter fraud and corruption. Republicans in Congress have largely avoided the issue, though some in Trump’s orbit have encouraged him to keep fighting and others have urged him to tone down his rhetoric.
– DOJ’s election crimes chief resigns after Barr directs prosecutors to probe voter fraud claims
The head of the branch of the Justice Department that prosecutes election crimes resigned Monday hours after Attorney General William Barr issued a memo to federal prosecutors to investigate “specific allegations” of voter fraud before the results of the presidential race are certified.
Richard Pilger, who was director of the Election Crimes Branch of the DOJ, sent a memo to colleagues that suggested his resignation was linked to Barr’s memo, which was issued as the president’s legal team mount baseless legal challenges to the election results, alleging widespread voter fraud cost him the race.
“Having familiarized myself with the new policy and its ramifications, and in accord with the best tradition of the John C. Keeney Award for Exceptional Integrity and Professionalism (my most cherished Departmental recognition), I must regretfully resign from my role as Director of the Election Crimes Branch,” Pilger’s letter said, according to a copy obtained by NBC News.
Barr on Monday issued a memo authorizing prosecutors “to pursue substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities prior to the certification of elections.”
That’s a change of Justice Department policy, which had previously advised prosecutors that “overt investigative steps ordinarily should not be taken until the election in question has been concluded, its results certified, and all recounts and election contests concluded.”