Reports: Trump’s Own Nominee May Have Committed… Voter Fraud In 2016

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Congressional leaders and administration officials on tax reform, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci/AP

President Donald Trump’s commission to look into his claims of illegal voting in the 2016 election may have to start pretty close to home.

Jeffrey Gerrish, President Donald Trump’s pick for deputy U.S. trade representative, may have voted illegally in the 2016 election, the New York Times and Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

The New York Times first reported, citing three unnamed Democratic congressional aides, that the Senate Finance Committee was briefed on the matter Tuesday.

Gerrish moved from Virginia to Maryland in 2016 but voted in November in the former, more competitive state, the New York Times reported, citing records.

The Washington Post confirmed the New York Times’ report, citing an unnamed senior administration official familiar with the matter.

Trump’s pledge to investigate his unsubstantiated claims of massive illegal voting was one of his signature campaign promises. After winning the White House, Trump nevertheless continued to claim that millions of people voted illegally in the election that he won, costing him the popular vote (though he won in the Electoral College).

He established a commission to investigate illegal voting in May. As of August, the panel faced seven pending lawsuits.

The senior administration official told the Washington Post that Gerrish lived in Virginia with his family for more than 18 years before the move, retained a Virginia driver’s license at the time of the election and “understood there was a grace period for switching voter registration but did not know the length.”

The New York Times’ report also cited an unnamed administration official who gave the same explanation.

As both reports noted, Virginia law allows a 30-day grace period for voters who have moved out of the state to cast their ballot only in a presidential election, though Gerrish did not appear to qualify for that exception, having sold a Virginia home — and purchased one in Maryland — in July 2016, four months before the election.

The White House referred TPM’s request for comment to the U.S. trade representative. In a statement via spokesperson Emily Davis, U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer said he “fully” supports Gerrish’s nomination.