Trump says Pence will lead investigation into non-existent voter fraud

Ned Reskinoff

Ned Reskinoff Senior Editor, ThinkProgress

In a pre-Super Bowl interview that aired on Sunday, President Donald Trump told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that he would establish a commission led by Vice President Mike Pence to investigate allegations of widespread voter fraud.

“We’re going to look at it very, very carefully,” said Trump.

There is, of course, no widespread voter fraud, and multiple independent observers have debunked Trump’s claims to the contrary. But the president has spent weeks repeating the false claim that undocumented immigrants cast three to five million votes against him — a lie that seems intended to explain away his loss of the popular vote by more than two million ballots cast.

In response to questioning about the “voter fraud” lie, White House press secretary Sean Spicer indicated in late January that the Trump administration would pursue an investigation into it. Not long after, Pence privately told Republican members of Congress that there would be “a full evaluation of voting rolls in this country.” Trump seemed poised to sign an executive order mandating some kind of inquiry.

But then the administration seemed to let it slide. By the end of Trump’s second week in office, the administration had quietly backed down, with one anonymous staffer telling CNN that voter fraud was no longer a “priority.”

But judging by Trump’s interview with Bill O’Reilly, “voter fraud” — likely a thin pretext to implement voter suppression tactics on the federal level — is once again a priority.

Shortly before announcing the Pence-led commission, Trump dug in on his false allegations of voter fraud and insisted he had been vindicated by, well, “many people.”

“Many people have come out and said I am right,” the president told O’Reilly. He offered no additional support to his claims.

Earlier Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that he didn’t think federal funds should be spent on a voter fraud investigation.

“This sort of thing is handled at the state level, and the Democrats always claim there’s no election fraud at all. That is, of course, not true — election fraud does occur,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “There’s no evidence that it occurred in such a significant number that would have changed the presidential election, and I don’t think we ought to spend any federal money investigating that,” the Kentucky Republican said.

Of course, it will be difficult for a commission headed by the vice president to conduct any business without dipping into the federal coffers.

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Reposted from ThinkProgress.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Failing Bridges Hold Public Hostage

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) gave the public just a few hours’ notice before closing a major bridge in March, citing significant safety concerns.

The West Seattle Bridge functioned as an essential component of  the city’s local and regional transportation network, carrying 125,000 travelers a day while serving Seattle’s critical maritime and freight industries. Closing it was a huge blow to the city and its citizens. 

Yet neither Seattle’s struggle with bridge maintenance nor the inconvenience now facing the city’s motorists is unusual. Decades of neglect left bridges across the country crumbling or near collapse, requiring a massive investment to keep traffic flowing safely.

When they opened it in 1984, officials predicted the West Seattle Bridge would last 75 years.

But in 2013, cracks started appearing in the center span’s box girders, the main horizontal support beams below the roadway. These cracks spread 2 feet in a little more than two weeks, prompting the bridge’s closure.

And it’s still at risk of falling.  

The city set up an emergency alert system so those in the “fall zone” could be quickly evacuated if the bridge deteriorates to the point of collapse.

More than one-third of U.S. bridges similarly need repair work or replacement, a reminder of America’s urgent need to invest in long-ignored infrastructure.

Fixing or replacing America’s bridges wouldn’t just keep Americans moving. It would also provide millions of family-supporting jobs for steel and cement workers, while also boosting the building trades and other industries.

With bridges across the country close to failure and millions unemployed, America needs a major infrastructure campaign now more than ever.

 

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work