“As the attorney general, you are expected not to be an idiot when it comes to basic legal principles,” said Rep. Ted Lieu.
Pressed late Wednesday to respond to President Donald Trump’s remarks encouraging North Carolina residents to try to cast two ballots in the November election, Attorney General William Barr—the top law enforcement official in the U.S.—repeatedly claimed to not know whether it’s illegal to vote twice.
“The president’s chief propagandist is still at it.”
“I don’t know what the law in the particular state says,” Barr said in a CNN appearance when host Wolf Blitzer told the attorney general that it is, in fact, illegal to vote twice.
“Well, I don’t know what the law in the particular state says,” Barr repeated.
Democratic lawmakers and other critics quickly slammed Barr for what they characterized as feigned ignorance in defense of Trump’s open encouragement of voter fraud. In an interview with a North Carolina reporter Wednesday, Trump said residents of the state should attempt to vote by mail and in person to test the ballot-counting system.
If the mail-in ballot “isn’t tabulated,” the president said, “they will be able to vote [in person]. So that’s the way it is, and that’s what they should do.” Under North Carolina law, it is a felony to vote twice or “induce” others to do so.
In response to Barr’s remarks Wednesday, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) pointed to federal law, tweeting: “As the attorney general, you are expected not to be an idiot when it comes to basic legal principles. Federal law prohibits voting more than once in the same election. 52 U.S. Code § 10307.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said “Barr once again made clear today that he is not serving as the attorney general for the American people.”
“He is serving as the personal henchman for Donald Trump,” Jayapal added.
During the same CNN appearance Wednesday, Barr floated the claim that new expansions of mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic leave “open the possibility” that either someone in the United States or a foreign nation could counterfeit ballots. Asked to provide evidence for that claim, Barr said he is basing it on “logic.”
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