Attorney General William Barr has said federal prosecutors have found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 US presidential election.
Mr Barr told the Associated Press on Tuesday: “To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election.”
Last month, he instructed the US Justice Department to investigate credible allegations of election fraud – but warned them to avoid probes into “fanciful or far-fetched claims.”
Since then, US attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow-up specific complaints about the election and information they had received, but have uncovered nothing.
Mr Barr’s stance is notable because he has been seen as one of Donald Trump‘s most ardent allies.
Before the election, he had repeatedly suggested the voting process could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.
Democratic president-elect Joe Biden beat Mr Trump by 306 to 232 Electoral College votes to win the White House.
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Despite that, Mr Trump has continued to claim the election was marred by widespread fraud – claims that have been repeatedly rejected by state and federal officials.
The president took several weeks to allow his administration to begin the transition over to Mr Biden, but he has still refused to admit that he lost the election.
Shortly after Mr Barr’s statement was published, the president tweeted out even more baseless allegations.
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Mr Trump has pursued a series of legal challenges in numerous states, although none have thus far resulted in any meaningful gains for the president. Most of the lawsuits have been rejected.
His campaign’s legal team responded to Mr Barr’s comments by saying the Justice Department did not do enough to investigate allegations of voter fraud.
In a joint statement, Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said: “With all due respect to the attorney general, there hasn’t been any semblance of a Department of Justice investigation.
“Nonetheless, we will continue our pursuit of the truth.”