As the 2020 presidential race intensifies between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, Attorney General William Barr warned of the potential for significant postal voting fraud – but left out the necessary context, stating that there is little evidence to support it based on the process of such activity.
He also suggested that China poses a greater threat to election security than Russia, though that was not the result of an official intelligence assessment last month.
Here's a look at the claims made in an interview with CNN on Wednesday night:
BARR on Post Voting Fraud: "Elections that were held by mail found significant fraud and coercion."
THE FACTS: Several studies have unmasked the notion of ubiquitous electoral fraud in general and in the voting process via email.
The five states – Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah – that relied on postal voting prior to the coronavirus pandemic have said they have the necessary security measures to prevent fraud and prevent hostile foreign actors from doing so to co-opt the vote. Due to the pandemic, more and more states are planning to rely more on mail-in voting this fall.
The attorney general cited a report by a commission led by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker more than a decade ago that postal voting was vulnerable to fraud. However, in a May statement, the Commission said it had found little evidence of fraud in states like Oregon, which had adequate safeguards in place.
Barr also said he was relying on "logic" of concern that a hostile foreign actor might produce false ballots for the election. But senior US officials said on a conference call with reporters last week that they had no information to suggest this was happening.
Some Republicans claim that voting by mail increases fraud, but the evidence simply does not support these claims. What is the interruption?
On the question of whether Russia, China or Iran interfered most decisively in the elections, BARR said: "I think it's China."
THE FACTS: Barr's assessment is inconsistent with the official statement made last month by government counterintelligence chief William Evanina.
The declaration put Russia directly in electoral lobbying in 2020 by saying it was actively working to vilify Biden. However, the characterization of China's activities has been significantly more nebulous as Trump is seen as unpredictable and prefers not to win.
The statement said that intelligence officials believed China had "stepped up its leverage" to shape the political environment ahead of the November elections and would continue to weigh the risks and benefits of aggressive action. However, they did not specifically portray China as a more serious threat or claim that Beijing intervened directly in the elections.
Barr said he was reviewing intelligence services to provide his assessment of China, which is in line with recent comments from National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe, and in line with the Trump administration's position that Beijing raises significant national security concerns for the US, particularly regarding this on espionage and intellectual property theft from American universities and businesses.
Editor's Note – A look at the veracity of claims made by political figures.