Late Monday night, Attorney General William Barr ordered Justice Department prosecutors across the country to begin investigating “substantial allegations” of voter fraud and other election irregularities.
Probes “may be conducted 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,” Barr wrote to Justice Department personnel.
On Tuesday, MSNBC’s Ari Melber doused Barr’s kowtowing to President Donald Trump’s desperate need to maintain power. Melber, himself a licensed attorney and former Capitol Hill staffer, explained on The Beat that President-Elect Joe Biden’s Election Day victory was so resounding that no amount of legal trickery by the Trump Administration has any chance of overturning the will of the American people:
Today Attorney General Barr out with a new memo that tweaks DOJ policy on when voter fraud claims and regulations can be probed. It tells prosecutors they don’t have to wait until elections are certified if there are credible allegations to investigate. The memo doesn’t change much, as I’ll explain.
There are no “credible allegations” of electoral funny business, but Barr is pursuing it anyway:
But the very act of trying to intervene and change the DOJ’s election policy at all has Barr under fire. The head of the elections crimes unit resigning in protest over this move, and contrasting his own recognition for integrity on the job to this move in the resignation letter. Independent experts are condemning Barr today and it’s certainly striking to see the highest post inside the DOJ’s elections unit resigning to object to Barr to lay down this marker which also of course echoes that Russia probe I mentioned. Recall that a top aide to the DOJ prosecutor leading it also resigned in protest, and roughly 2000 DOJ veterans from both parties have protested Barr and demanded he resign over repeated political meddling. So, there is a track record here for Bill Barr’s ploys but can any of this change this race’s outcome? No.
The game is over. Joe Biden is the winner. Donald Trump is the loser. Those are the results of the election. There is not a single case pending in the nation that can change that result as we’ve reported. Now tonight, I get it. Some may ask, okay, Ari, but is the Attorney General now doing something that could create such a case to challenge the outcome? No.
Melber noted that Barr’s memo did not, however, presume that anything sketchy definitely occured:
And I’m reporting that answer to you drawn from Bill Barr’s memo itself. For two reasons. First, this memo states that the DOJ can only start these reviews earlier if there are clear voting irregularities that would change the outcome of a federal election and Barr emphasizes if irregularities would not, would not change the outcome, those are delayed until after the election certification process is complete. Translation: most probes will wait unless there is key evidence that could change the entire election result, but as we’ve known for days from those big board updates, Joe Biden’s victory margins are greater than the number of allegedly challenged ballots in any of these key states.
The memo may offer a brief sugar high today for the headlines he wants about fraud or investigations just as Barr did spinning the Mueller report, but this new Barr memo doesn’t even claim they found any fraud. In fact, Bill Barr in the new memo writes the opposite.
Barr wrote that “while serious allegations should be handled with great care, specious, speculative, fanciful or far-fetched claims should not be a basis for initiating federal inquiries. Nothing here should be taken as an indication that the Department has concluded that voting irregularities have impacted the outcome of any election.”
Barr is playing games, Melber said:
If you’re hearing less about this part of the facts tonight, that means because Barr knows how to play the media and Twitter and getting people salivating over words lie ‘fraud.’ But hasn’t the Trump era taught people that the full truth does require more than overreacting to a few spicy words on Twitter? Come on you guys, let’s just go to the actual source. Barr’s new memo states: ‘the DOJ that has not concluded that voting irregularities impacted the outcome of any election.’ And he ends the memo with the fair sounding language that we could hear Barr reading to some Congressional probe in the future Biden Administration because Barr proclaims that ‘this is up to the non-partisan DOJ staff, not to him. He tells the prosecutors: ‘I trust you to exercise great care and judgement… specious, speculative, fanciful, or far-fetched claims should not be a basis for initiating federal inquiries.
Melber said that Barr’s standards “passes the buck” to DOJ prosecutors while discouraging any “specious” or hyped-up voter fraud claims or cases, which is a perfect characterization of the legal shenanigans Trump and the GOP are pursuing.
“I mean, when you just look at it, L’m just reading the memo to you, I’m not doing anything special here, you see that despite the tweets or the headlines, this is weaker than weak sauce. This is legally irrelevant,” said Melber. “Now, viewers of this program know that we sometimes report the news with some choice rap lyrics. But I gotta tell you, Bill Barr’s memo is so weak, it is so soft, it does not merit any association with any hard hip-hop lyrics. It’s just too soft for that.”
Melber finished his segment by offering a summation of the Barr memo by borrowing lyrics from singers Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato: “no matter what song you sing, this wouldn’t change a thing. No, this wouldn’t change a thing.”
Barr is “covering himself more than fighting for Trump,” concluded Melber. “It’s really over.”
Watch below, courtesy of Crooks and Liars:
Seventy days until the election.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.