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Top Trump aide again asserts widespread vote fraud, cites no evidence

 (Marc Piscotty / Getty Images)
(Marc Piscotty / Getty Images)

The Trump administration continued Sunday to assert a widely debunked claim that massive vote fraud helped deprive the president of a popular-vote victory in November’s election.

President Trump's senior policy advisor Stephen Miller said in an interview aired Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that “the noncitizen voting issue is pervasive and widespread.”

Trump has said that he lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton only because 3 million to 5 million illegal immigrants had cast votes for her. Clinton’s margin of victory in the popular vote was more than 2.8 million, while Trump won the electoral college vote, 304-227.

That claim of massive illegal voting has been denied by Republican officials in key states, such as Ohio, and by independent observers. Administration officials have never offered any evidence for it.

Democrats say the unsubstantiated fraud claim is being used by Trump and his supporters to pave the way for state legislation meant to suppress turnout by groups that tend to vote Democratic, including African Americans and young people.

A week ago, Trump said he planned to have a special commission overseen by Vice President Mike Pence investigate alleged voter fraud.

In an interview on Sunday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) ridiculed the notion that widespread illegal voting had occurred in the November election.

“When somebody goes before you and the American people, saying ‘3 to 5 million people voted illegally in the last election,' nobody believes that,” said Sanders, who had sought the Democratic presidential nomination. He was interviewed on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“There is not a scintilla of evidence,” Sanders said. “What would you call that remark? It’s a lie. It’s a delusion.”

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), in a separate interview, said the voter-fraud claim was one of several that had caused him and some other lawmakers to wonder if Trump was “not right mentally.”

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Franken said such a statement was “not the norm for a president of the United States, or actually for a human being.”

In the ABC interview, interviewer George Stephanopoulos pressed Miller for evidence of massive voter fraud. Miller provided none, but asserted that Americans should be “aghast.”

Miller also returned to a theme advanced by Trump in a meeting with lawmakers last week that he lost the New Hampshire vote in the general election because thousands of illegal ballots were cast by residents of neighboring Massachusetts.

“I can tell you that this issue of busing voters into New Hampshire is widely known by anyone who’s worked in New Hampshire politics,” Miller said on ABC. “It’s very real. It’s very serious.”

New Hampshire has a law requiring voters to show identification before casting a ballot.

Earlier this week, when Trump first raised the New Hampshire claim, the state's former Republican senator Kelly Ayotte, who lost her reelection bid in November, noted that she could have asked for a recount if she had thought the election was tainted by improper voting. She did not do so.

On Sunday, one of the New Hampshire GOP's most experienced officials, Tom Rath, a former attorney general of the state, also denied Trump's suggestion, sending a tweet in which he called it "baseless" and "shameful."

12:57 p.m.: This post was updated with Tom Rath's tweet.

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