Just days after firing former FBI director James Comey — who was leading an investigation into possible collusion between Russia and certain individuals in the current administration during last year's election — President Donald Trump has reportedly decided to launch another kind of investigation into the events of last November. But it has nothing to do with Russia. Trump will reportedly order a voter fraud investigation, which will look into the 2016 election — which he won.
President Trump is reportedly expected to sign an executive order on Thursday which would formalize an investigation focused on identifying alleged voter fraud during the 2016 campaign season, according to The Los Angeles Times. The commission to investigate — thus far referred to as the "Presidential Commission on Election Integrity" — will reportedly include Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Kris Kobach as Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, according to The Hill.
The investigation would also include bipartisan lawmakers and will be focused on evaluating the United States' current voting systems, as well as looking for specific incidents of fraud that may have taken place during the 2016 election last November, according to NBC News. Trump has consistently made unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud, particularly where it concerns the numbers attributed to the popular vote — which were in favor of Hillary Clinton by a significant margin.
In January, shortly after taking office, Trump tweeted about his intentions to form a committee to investigate voter fraud, to be lead by Vice President Pence. He stated that between 3 to 5 million people voted illegally in the 2016 election, and they all voted for Clinton. There is no evidence to support that statistic, according to NPR and multiple other organizations who fact-checked the claims.
The immediate response to the announcement of a formal committee echoes the initial response to Trump's accusations: Many fear that this will make voter suppression easier — both at the state and federal level — particularly if the committee recommends stricter ID laws for voter registration, according to the ACLU.
The text of the order has not yet been released, though an official told The New York Times (under the condition of anonymity) that it would reportedly be focused on “reviewing alleged voter fraud and suppression, with a broad mandate to review policies and practices that affect Americans’ confidence in the integrity of federal elections. Improper or fraudulent registrations, voting fraud and voter suppression are among the issues the commission will study." The committee would reportedly be expected to present their findings sometime in 2018, according to the source.