Trump to ABC: “I want the voting process to be legitimate”

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That’s the reason why Donald Trump wants an investigation into voter fraud, he tells ABC’s David Muir in the network’s first one-on-one interview with the new president. And Trump tells Muir that he has some personal investment in an investigation, despite having won the election in November. “None of them come to me,” Trump says about the fraudulent votes, “they would all be for the other side”:

President Trump to launch investigation into alleged voter fraud: “I want the voting process to be legitimate." https://t.co/zjjJ6vMqXU pic.twitter.com/h7zavlBWoa

— ABC News (@ABC) January 26, 2017

“You have people that are registered who are dead, who are illegals, who are in two states. You have people registered in two states. They’re registered in a New York and a New Jersey. They vote twice. There are millions of votes, in my opinion,” Trump told “World News Tonight” Anchor David Muir during an interview today at the White House.

The president later added, “When you look at the people that are registered: dead, illegal and two states, and some cases maybe three states — we have a lot to look into.”

ABC’s report curiously omits a part of the interview. Muir challenged Trump to cite evidence of massive illegal voting, and Trump responded with a Pew study that he claimed suggested routine and significant voter fraud, but Muir countered with a rebuttal from the study’s author. Trump dismissed that as the result of media intimidation, but the study’s author, David Becker, had said the same thing two months ago as well:

We found millions of out of date registration records due to people moving or dying, but found no evidence that voter fraud resulted.

— David Becker (@beckerdavidj) November 28, 2016

The Pew study actually supports part of Trump’s theory, but not the other. The study’s report only mentions fraud once, and only to note that the problems “can lead to problems with the rolls, including the perception that they lack integrity or could be susceptible to fraud” [emphasis mine]. (On the other hand, there isn’t any reference to a conclusion that fraud didn’t occur, either.) That seemed like a pretty good moment for Muir. So why did ABC leave it out of the article accompanying the clip?

Still, it’s been almost five years since Pew found these issues, which the study highlighted as “major problems,” and little has been done about it. An investigation of illegal voting does not seem unreasonable under the circumstances, especially since a follow-up study in North Carolina showed significant evidence that double voting occurred by the hundreds, and perhaps the tens of thousands, in the election that year because of this gap. Because that involves multiple states — that review covered 28 states — it’s within the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice to resolve.

As I wrote yesterday, voter fraud may not exist on the scale suggested by Trump, but there’s certainly significant evidence that it does occur. So why not have the Department of Justice perform an investigation — call it a study, if that sounds better — to determine the existence and the scope of the problem?

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