Updated Nov 10, 2020 - Politics & Policy

DOJ official steps down over Barr's voter fraud investigation memo

Attorney General William Barr, left, meets with members of the St. Louis Police Department, October 15
Attorney General Bill Barr in St. Louis, Missouri, in October. Photo: Jeff Roberson/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Richard Pilger, a Department of Justice official who oversees investigations of voting crimes, stepped down from his role Monday after Attorney General Bill Barr authorized U.S. attorneys to probe alleged elections fraud, the New York Times first reported.

Why it matters: President Trump has refused to concede the election to President-elect Joe Biden, alleging a conspiracy of widespread voting fraud, but he has yet to provide relevant evidence.

  • Pilger states to colleagues in an email, also obtained by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the new DOJ policy is "abrogating the forty-year old Non-Interference Policy for ballot fraud investigation in the period prior to elections becoming certified and uncontested."

For the record: Pilger states, "Having familiarized myself with the new policy and its ramifications … I must regretfully resign from my role as Director of the Election Crimes Branch."

  • He has been director of the Election Crimes Branch of the Department of Justice since 2010 and will now "move to a nonsupervisory role working on corruption prosecutions," per the NYT.

Of note: Democrats have accused Barr of politicizing his role and of political interference in cases involving Trump associates — claims he strongly denies.

  • The DOJ did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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