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Fact check: New Trump salvo on voter fraud lacks evidence

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Gregg Phillips is seen in Austin, Texas. President Donald Trump, today, continued to press his widely debunked claims of massive voter fraud by encouraging the work of a Texas man who has claimed without providing any evidence that millions of people illegally voted in the 2016 election.

AUSTIN, Texas >> President Donald Trump on Friday pressed his widely debunked claims of massive voter fraud by encouraging the work of a Texas man who has offered no evidence to support his claim that millions of people illegally voted in the 2016 election.

Trump tweeted: “Look forward to seeing the final results of VoteStand. Gregg Phillips and crew say at least 3,000,000 votes were illegal. We must do better!”

The tweet came less than an hour after a CNN interview with Phillips, who has refused to substantiate his claims since he made them days after the November election.

Phillips tweeted that a Houston-based group, True the Vote, “will lead the analysis” of widespread voter fraud. But the founder of that group said today it has not confirmed that millions voted illegally.

Here’s more about the man Trump is cheering on, and about True the Vote.

WHO IS PHILLIPS?

Phillips is a former Texas state official whose brief stint as deputy executive director at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission drew media scrutiny over privatization efforts. He went on to found AutoGov, a health care software contractor whose clients include state governments, and created a mobile app called VoteStand that allows people to report suspicious voting activity.

Phillips also previously worked as a state health official in Mississippi, resigning under fire from lawmakers. A state panel concluded that he stepped down as executive director of the Mississippi’s Department of Human Services on the same day he went to work for a company that he had given a state contract.

“Mr. Phillips’s actions create the appearance of impropriety, facilitating an erosion of the public trust,” according to the panel’s 1995 report.

After the 2016 election, Phillips tweeted that his “completed analysis” of voter registrations concluded that the “number of non-citizen votes exceeded 3 million.” He has rebuffed media requests for evidence, saying since Nov. 15 that he would release it broadly to the public, but he hasn’t. He suggested today that he might do so in a few more months.

Upset that Democrat Hillary Clinton defeated him in the popular vote, Trump has repeatedly blamed that result on illegally cast or counted votes but offered no substantiation. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have completed their election results with no reports of the kind of widespread fraud that Trump alleges.

WHAT ABOUT TRUE THE VOTE?

Phillips is a board member of True the Vote, a conservative group that has challenged the validity of voter rolls in numerous states. Tax records from 2014 show the group reported raising nearly $1.2 million and having an estimated 50,000 volunteers.

It was founded by Catherine Engelbrecht, who also started the tea party group the King Street Patriots. That organization drew national attention in 2010 after sending hundreds of observers to Houston-area polling stations, spurring complaints of intimidation from minority rights groups.

Engelbrecht said today that she believes millions of people illegally voted in the last election but also acknowledged “there is no way to confirm that at this point.” She said the group still lacks voter files from many states but hopes to begin releasing findings by late spring.

King Street Patriots is in a legal battle over Democratic efforts to release the identity of its donors. The case is set to go before the Texas Supreme Court next month.

WHAT’S NEXT?

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said this week that Trump will take executive action to launch an investigation into voting fraud. The Republican who leads the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, said he’s seen no evidence of fraud in the 2016 election and his committee will not investigate it. Chaffetz, however, said Trump is free to order the Justice Department to investigate the issue.

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  • the only way to find voter fraud by non citizens and illegal aliens, is every state would have to do an audit on each individual voter which would cost the state money, but it would be worth it then you will find that maybe 4 to 5 million voters was illegal. and all went to Hillary.

    • There is another, much easier way: TrumpTruth.

      TrumpTruth is what we need to resolve our disagreements and make America great again.

      TrumpTruth is beautiful. So beautiful.
      TrumpTruth is classy. Big time classy.
      TrumpTruth is simple. Very, very simple.
      TrumpTruth works. It works folks. Trust me.

      America loves TrumpTruth. America needs TrumpTruth. America voted for TrumpTruth.

      We know this for a fact (alternative fact) because Trump said so in the strongest classiest way possible. Simple. Very, very simple.

      @realDonaldTruth

      • Keep it going Danno!!!! Too funny, I can actually here Trump…Trump and his Trumpers only a week in and the cracks are forming…2 years and Trumps health fails or he declares bankruptcy on America and walks away…#MAGA

      • Give Trump credit where due. He is creating jobs in the U.S. with $15 B, to build and install a 50 ft tall wall along the U.S. Mexican border.

        Mexico will also prosper because a new industry will likely emerge that will build lightweight, sturdy, 52 ft ladders. Mass production should reduce cost, and make them more affordable.

        This looks like a Win – Win situation for both counties.

        McK

      • You can’t see that he’s just dropping a little bait for the press out there? He brings up these things so they go all nuts about ridiculous stuff and then goes about his business uninterrupted. The liberal press is so stupid to fall for this. It’s pretty funny

  • Voter fraud is and has been a vital part of democrat strategy. Load the buses with illegals, homeless and drug addicts, give them 5 bucks and a pack of smokes and tell them which lever to pull. California has it down to a science with motor voter and state ID’s for illegals.

  • More of Trump’s brilliant rope-a-dope strategy. While the media and angry Waldo supporters chase non-story rabbits down blind holes Trump and his qualified team are solving real problems. Reigning in the EPA, getting control of our borders, preserving unborn life and many other things that affect the average Americans. Barry did a good job of looking out for the moneyed class and social justice warriors while the media applauded his every move. Meanwhile the middle class just had to grab the ankles and were expected to be grateful for the privilege.

    • You are sooo right CEI.

      Trump-Bannon are masterful at appearing petty and incompetent and unhinged, it’s driving the lame-stream media crazy.

      Those losers just keep listening to what Trump says, not what’s in his heart. And not the great things he’s doing for America. What a brilliant strategy!

      Hide what you are doing for ordinary Americans and instead look like a buffoon. Trump and Bannon’s cunning plan needs a catchy slogan.

      Let’s see. How about:

      “Shocking Conduct, Hidden Greatness – Trump2020”

      “Bannon’s beautiful bumbling is big league Winning”

      “America. Looking Great again by lowering expectations.”

      But my favorite is

      “Trump is crazy… like a rabid fox.”

      @realDonaldTruth

    • Trump isn’t taking a salary as President. If Hillary had won, do you believe she’d take the salary or donate to charity or give it back to the Treasury? After all, she and Bill are worth tens of millions. Recall the former President telling Joe the Plumber to “spread the wealth. Does that apply to the Clintons and the Schumers of the world, or is it a different standard for Dems?

  • If you looked at Trump’s tax return, two things would likely be immediately obvious. One, he is not a billionaire and never has been. Two, foreign and american banks own most of his real estate holdings. Guess he is happy that being POTUS has made his net worth go up and banks worry a little less about their loans to his companies.

  • ABC News with David Muir reported that Trump’s daughter, Tiffany Trump registered to vote in New York and Pennsylvania; son-in-law Jared Kushner in New York and New Jersey; White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon in New York and Florida; and Trump’s Press Secretary Sean Spicer in Rhode Island and Virginia. Voter fraud? Look at YOUR people. SHAME…

  • “White House press secretary Sean Spicer said this week that Trump will take executive action to launch an investigation into voting fraud.” Explain to Pres. Trump why you (Sean Spicer) registered to vote in Rhode Island and Virginia. No shame. Tell your boss why.

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