The thing is, I think Trump actually believes this:
In an exclusive interview with ABC News, President Trump insisted there is “a lot to look into” as he said he will call for an investigation into alleged voter fraud following his unsubstantiated claim that millions of people illegally cast ballots during the 2016 election.
“You have people that are registered who are dead, who are illegals, who are in two states. You have people registered in two states. They're registered in a New York and a New Jersey. They vote twice. There are millions of votes, in my opinion,” Trump told "World News Tonight" Anchor David Muir during an interview today at the White House.
The president later added, “When you look at the people that are registered: dead, illegal and two states, and some cases maybe three states -- we have a lot to look into.”
He believes it because he'll believe any suspicion-confirming wingnut tale, however absurd. And he says there's "a lot to look into" because the people feeding him this tale -- Greg Phillips and his allies at the Koch-affiliated True the Vote -- swear they can prove that all this fraud took place, but just not yet, though any day now they will, they totally swear:
Gregg Phillips, the ... apparent source for President Trump's unsupported claim that 3 million or more "illegal voters" cost him the popular vote, says he might be changing his mind about releasing the names of those voters to everyone on the internet.
“If I had my druthers, and they said, ‘Gregg, you can release your list or you can give it to [the Department of Justice],’ I’d instantly agree to give it over to DOJ. They could bump it up against the Homeland Security file,” Phillips told The Daily Beast on Tuesday. “There’s a group of us who don’t think we should release the names at all.”
As of right now, however, releasing the names is the plan, said Phillips, who identifies himself on Twitter as the founder of a voter-fraud reporting app....
Here’s the problem: No one has seen any of the data, nor the algorithm Phillips and his group have put it through, let alone confirmed if it’s even possible for any part of it to be true....
Phillips claims his group, a band of volunteers loosely affiliated with a right-wing organization called True the Vote, has “184 million voting records we’ve collected over time.” ...
He said his team has “worked on various projects and analysis and plenty of different methodologies on key components on the valuations such as verifying identity and verifying citizenship.” ...
Phillips said he doesn’t want to accuse someone of felony voter fraud who isn’t a felon.
“That’s exactly what’s taking so long. Rather than publishing things that might be wrong, we not only just want to do a quality check on our own algorithm, we want to do an internal audit, if you will,” he said.
Still, at the beginning of his conversation with The Daily Beast, he insisted he’d release the data and algorithm to the public once he was sure the data was fine-tuned. (He didn’t give a timeline for any of this when pressed.) ...
In the meantime, though, he’s mostly gone dark.
There are two possibilities here: (1) these folks have no data whatsoever; (2) they have data that will turn out to be riddled with errors if it's ever released -- and if it's ever released, you're going to find innocent people being harassed and threatened by right-wing goons for allegedly committing voter fraud that they never actually engaged in. Did you live with an dying parent who cast an absentee ballot and then died before Election Day? These folks will get you and your dead parent accused of fraud by anonymous harassers. Or maybe that'll happen just because the last state you lived in never took you off the rolls. Or for no reason at all except that these clowns need to pad their stats.
Assuming there ever have been any stats.
I've written about True the Vote several times, most recently in November, when Phillips's claim first surfaced. As I explain in that post, the group, headed by a Texas Republican activist named Catherine Engelbrecht, is nakedly partisan -- it categorically describes voter fraud as a Democratic problem -- yet right-wing media outlets have regularly published sob stories about how the poor dears couldn't get tax-exempt status as a non-partisan group from the allegedly evil Obama IRS. And not just the low-rent outlets -- Peggy Noonan and John Fund at The Wall Street Journal have shed tears over Engelbrecht's heroic suffering. This is a crock, but it's a crock that might end up in a mass doxxing of mostly innocent people -- that is, if there's anything at all behind these claims apart from smoke and mirrors.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog