THE NEUTRAL ZONE
Richard Pilger resigned from his position as Director of the Election Crimes Branch on Monday in protest of a memo from Attorney General William Barr.
Barr’s memo authorizes prosecutors to investigate allegations of voting and vote irregularities before state results are certified if there are”clear and apparently-credible allegations.” He acknowledged that the memo departed from previous directives to not launch overt, full-scale investigations into such fraud until after election results are certified. He said those previous guidelines were too “passive and delayed,” particularly when an election’s outcome could be impacted. Barr’s memo didn’t provide any indication that the DOJ had evidence to support President Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud.
Vanita Gupta, former head of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, shared a copy of Pilger’s email to colleagues on Twitter. She called Pilger’s resignation “a testament to how grossly politicized and partisan the Barr DOJ is, in service of Trump.”
Critics condemned Barr’s memo as a political act that undermined the department’s independence from the White House. Justin Levitt, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ, said the department does not have the power to change “even one vote” and called it a “partisan PR path” intended to sow doubt in the election’s results. Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, asked when an Inspector General investigation would be initiated over the memo following Pilger stepping down.
States have until Dec. 8 to resolve election disputes, including recounts and court cases. Electoral College members meet Dec. 14 to finalize the outcome.
AG William Barr authorizes Justice Department voter fraud probe – Washington Times – 11/9/2020
Mr. Barr‘s action prompted the Justice Department official who oversees voter fraud cases, Richard Pilger, to step down, The New York Times reported late Monday. Mr. Pilger, director of the department’s Election Crimes Branch, will move to a non-supervisory role working on corruption prosecutions, according to the Times.
This Would Be a Very Good Time to Impeach William Barr – The Nation – 11/10/2020
As Barr and President Trump promote legal chaos in a subversive challenge to an election result that has gone against them, they are kicking at the essential underpinnings of the Constitution and the republic that extends from it. The Constitution outlines a remedy, and it ought to be employed, immediately and unapologetically.
Top Election Crimes Prosecutor Quits DOJ After Barr Okay’s Investigations Of ‘Substantial’ Fraud Allegations – Daily Caller – 11/10/2020
Richard Pilger, director of the elections crimes branch at the Department of Justice (DOJ), said he was resigning due to a memo sent by Barr outlining policy plans to end a 40-year-old non-interference policy for ballot fraud investigation, according to CNN. Pilger attached the memo from Barr to his resignation letter, though Pilger will not leave DOJ altogether but will work on corruption investigations, the New York Times reported.
Barr Has Contorted A ‘Bedrock’ DOJ Policy To Massage Trump’s Ego – Talking Points Memo – 11/10/2020
Barr’s decision to authorize prosecutors to investigate so-called electoral irregularities takes what experts described as a longstanding DOJ policy — that election-related probes not begin until the results are certified — and throws it away in favor of giving President Trump and the public the impression that something went awry last week, and must be investigated.