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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 Jan 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden picks Merrick Garland for attorney general

Joe Biden touches Merrick Garland after President Obama nominated him to the Supreme Court in March 2016. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden announced Judge Merrick Garland as his pick for attorney general on Thursday, seeking to place in the nation's top law enforcement job a respected federal appeals judge whose Supreme Court nomination Republicans blocked five years ago.

Why it matters: News of the selection, first reported by Politico, came just hours after the country learned that Democrats would likely win both Senate runoff elections in Georgia and take control of the Senate, making it harder for Republicans to block nominations.

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.