USA

White House chief of staff contradicts FBI director on voter fraud

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows disputed FBI Director Christopher Wray's testimony to Congress on Thursday that there's no evidence of voter fraud by mail or otherwise, and he suggested that Wray "needs to get involved on the ground."

"With all due respect to Director Wray, he has a hard time finding emails in his own FBI, let alone figuring out whether there is any kind of voter fraud," Meadows said in an interview with "CBS This Morning" on Friday. Wray had told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that there was no evidence of a "coordinated national voter fraud effort."

Meadows also made reference to a Washington Post report about 500 "problematic" ballots that had been sent to some voters in North Carolina, although this was the result of a clerical error, and not voter fraud. Moreover, people can still only vote once, meaning that even if they sent in two ballots, their vote would only be counted once. Earlier this month, President Trump urged North Carolinians to vote twice, which is a felony.

"Perhaps he needs to get involved on the ground and he would change his testimony on Capitol Hill," Meadows said of Wray.

In a separate gaggle with reporters on Friday morning, Meadows also sidestepped a question from CBS News' Ben Tracy about whether the president still had confidence in Wray.

"It's time for Director Wray to quit, in my mind, playing footsie with transparency and delivery those documents," Meadows said, which may have been a reference to material sought by Congress about Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into any links between 2016 Trump campaign associates and Russian meddling in the election. On Thursday, newly released records from the Justice Department first reported by CBS News showed that the primary sub-source for the Steele dossier had been the subject of an earlier counterintelligence investigation by the FBI.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly tried to sow doubts about the legitimacy of mail-in ballots, baselessly claiming that it leads to widespread voter fraud. However, the president has encouraged mail-in voting in Florida, a key swing state that is considered to be critical to his reelection.

The president has also refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power should Joe Biden win the presidential election, saying only that "we're going to have to see what happens." On Thursday, he told reporters, "We want to make sure the election is honest and I'm not sure that it can be." 

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