President Donald Trump said he would request a major investigation into voter fraud during the 2016 election, which he won in the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote by almost 3 million ballots.
“I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time),” Trump said in a pair of Twitter posts on Wednesday. “Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!”
Trump has repeatedly made the unsubstantiated claim that the 2016 election was tainted by massive voter fraud. He has not provided any credible evidence to back up the claim.
Trump’s pledge to call for an investigation comes after he told members of Congress on Monday at a private reception that he believes he lost the popular vote in his election because millions of undocumented immigrants cast ballots for his opponent, his press secretary said Tuesday.
Trump believes as many as 5 million people voted illegally in the last U.S. election, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters.
Democrat Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote by about 2.9 million ballots, but Trump won enough states to secure 306 Electoral College votes and the presidency. Since his win, he has repeatedly said he would have won the popular vote if not for massive voter fraud that benefited Clinton.
Spicer referred to a study “that came out of Pew in 2008 that showed 14 percent of people who have voted were non-citizens” as evidence that 2016 voter fraud was widespread.
It was not clear what information Spicer was referring to. A Pew Charitable Trusts spokeswoman said that no such study exists.
“We did not publish a report in 2008 on that topic,” Pew spokeswoman Kelly Hoffman said in an e-mail. “Our work has focused on inefficient and inaccurate voter registration processes, which are not evidence of fraud at polling places.”
A 2012 study by Pew found that as many as one in eight voter registrations in the U.S. either had significant inaccuracies or were no longer valid. The author of that study, David Becker, said the research didn’t back up Trump’s claim of vote fraud.
“As I’ve noted before, voting integrity better in this election than ever before,” Becker, now the executive director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research, said Tuesday in a Twitter post. “Zero evidence of fraud.”
Several studies have found that large-scale voter fraud does not exist in the U.S., and the National Association of Secretaries of State said there was no evidence of such fraud in 2016.
“We are not aware of any evidence that supports the voter fraud claims made by President Trump,” the group of state elections officials said Tuesday in a statement.
Asked repeatedly on Tuesday whether Trump would pursue an investigation into the alleged large-scale voter fraud, Spicer said “anything is possible,” before turning to other issues.
“Maybe we will” investigate, Spicer said. “We’ll see where we go from here but right now the president’s focus is on putting people back to work.”
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