DOJ eyes Nevada, Pennsylvania in Trump-Biden race

William Barr, U.S. attorney general, wears a protective mask while arriving at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020.Stefani Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesThe Department of Justice is “looking into” allegations by Republicans that there were illegal votes cast in Nevada and Pennsylvania, NBC News reported Tuesday.The investigations were disclosed on the heels of a controversial memo by Attorney General William Barr, who authorized federal prosecutors to probe “specific” claims of voter fraud even before the election results of the race between President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden are certified.The DOJ, which Barr leads, is eyeing GOP claims that ineligible voters cast ballots in Nevada, and that there was back-dating of mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania, a department source told NBC News.Barr’s memo, issued Monday, led Richard Pilger, the head of the DOJ division that prosecutes election crimes to resign his post, in apparent disagreement with the new policy and its ramifications. Pilger will continue to work within the DOJ.A DOJ spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.Trump has refused to concede the election to Biden, despite major media organizations, including NBC News, projecting Biden as the winner. That call was made last Saturday, after the former vice president was projected to win Pennsylvania’s 20 Electoral College votes.Biden’s projected win in the Keystone State, and in Nevada, which has 6 Electoral College votes, gives him 279 votes in the Electoral College, nine more than a candidate needs to win the White House.The Trump campaign is waging a multi-state legal and procedural battle to invalidate the potentially tens of thousands of popular vote ballots in a handful of states for Biden, which are giving the Democratic former vice president his margin of victory over Trump in the Electoral College. Biden is also leading in the popular vote by millions of ballots. Biden’s campaign, Democrats and a number of legal observers say claims by the Trump campaign that illegal votes led to Biden’s victory are frivolous.Trump has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that he would win the race if only legal ballots were counted.The president repeated such claims with rants on Twitter on Tuesday morning. Twitter then labeled two those those tweets with the message: “This claim about election fraud is disputed.” – Additional reporting by Kevin Breuninger

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