Last Wednesday morning, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a directive to authorize federal agents’ transfer to voting centers to investigate fraud after the polls closed for a recount, USA Today reported.
Justice Department officials contacted U.S. attorneys across the country through a memo, indicating that the ban on federal agents only applies on Election Day, but not after the close of voting.
Richard P. Donoghue, the top deputy to Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, said in an email: [The statute] “… does not prevent armed federal agents from responding to, investigating, or even preventing federal crimes at closed polling places or other places where votes are counted.”
While Donoghue did not specify anything about the Justice Department’s approval for federal agents’ deployment, he suggested that he be made aware of any decisions in this regard.
“Should the need to send federal law enforcement officers to such locations arise, please make immediate notifications to the department,” he said.
A Justice Department official told the Washington Times that the memo had been sent to prevent any disruption in the vote count and noted that the Justice Department wanted to ensure that state and local officials knew that the federal government could help.
President Trump announced months ago the possibility of federal agents providing oversight at the polls to prevent what he called ‘major election fraud.’
“We’re going to have sheriffs, and we’re going to have law enforcement, and we’re going to hopefully have U.S. attorneys, and we’re going to have everybody, and attorney generals. But it’s very hard,” the president told Fox News anchor Sean Hannity.
The president’s decision to send law enforcement to the polls came in the wake of constant complaints about impending fraud through the mail voting system.
Meanwhile, the vote count continues in some states where there is a narrow margin of difference between President Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
As the Washington Times points out, the Justice Department’s move to send federal agents to the polls has provoked the displeasure of the Democrats.
Democrats and liberal groups criticized Trump and Attorney General William Barr earlier this year for authorizing federal agents to raid Lafayette Square Park near the White House during summer protests.
President Trump has deployed federal agents to quell the protests in cities across the country, including Seattle and Portland, Oregon.
Last weekend, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, made it clear that troops would not be deployed to resolve any election disputes, but he did clarify that they would support enforcement if asked.
“We support law enforcement, whether that is at the federal or state, local levels … we don’t police America’s streets,” Milley said, according to One America News.
“So, we in the instance of National Guardsmen being called up that are uniquely trained and set for those types of operations, if we’re called upon, we’ll ask and support that to protect federal property and support law enforcement,” he added.