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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.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The top Republicans who have acknowledged Biden as president-elect

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Some elected Republicans are breaking ranks with President Trump to acknowledge that President-elect Biden won the 2020 presidential election.

Why it matters: The relative sparsity of acknowledgements highlights Trump's lasting power in the GOP, as his campaign moves to file multiple lawsuits alleging voter fraud in key swing states — despite the fact that there have been no credible allegations of any widespread fraud anywhere in the U.S.

Trump cancels Pennsylvania trip for GOP hearing on voter fraud claims

President Trumpat the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump on Wednesday canceled his trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he was scheduled to join his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani for a Republican-led state Senate Majority Policy Committee hearing on alleged election irregularities.

Driving the news: The cancellation comes after Giuliani was exposed to a second person who tested positive for the coronavirus. It's unclear if that's the reason the trip was cancelled.

1 hour ago - Podcasts

Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes on the Senate runoffs

The future of U.S. politics, and all that flows from it, is in the hands of Georgia voters when they vote in two Senate runoffs on January 5.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the election dynamics with former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat who served between 1999 and 2003.