White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday defended President Donald Trump’s claims that “3 to 5 million people” had voted illegally in the 2016 election, providing no supporting evidence beyond an 8-year-old, discredited study.
He also said “anything is possible” when pressed about whether the President would order an investigation into what he suspected was voter fraud on a massive scale, which would effectively be an investigation of his own victory.
“He’s stated his concerns of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign and continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence people have brought to him,” Spicer said at a press briefing Tuesday.
He was responding to a question about Trump’s reported claim that three to five million “illegals” voted in the November election, swinging the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.
When challenged to summon proof for his claims, Spicer could not, aside from what he said was a study “that came out from Pew in 2008 that showed 14 percent of people who have voted were not citizens.” He also claimed “there were other studies that have been presented” to Trump.
The reporter clarified that the study, which was not from Pew, may have been based on a clerical errors, but Spicer moved on without addressing the discrepancy.
“I think the President has believed that for a while based on studies and information he has,” Spicer said in response to another reporter’s questions on the topic.
Later, a reporter said that if Trump’s claims were proven to be true it would be “the biggest scandal in American electoral history” and asked what the administration would do in that scenario. Spicer was similarly mum in response to that question.
“As I noted several times, he’s believed this for a long time now, and I think he won fairly overwhelmingly,” he said.
“Maybe we will” investigate it, he said when pressed further. “It was a comment he made on a long-standing belief.”
Spicer then went on to deny that he was leaving a door open to the President ordering an investigation into voter fraud.
“I did not, no, I did not,” he said to a reporter who asked him about the possibility of an investigation.
Pressed again about his own comments, he said: “Anything is possible. No, I— I think at some point— Look, I was asked a question. There is no investigation. It’s— I said it was possible. Anything is possible. It was hypothetical question.”
In arguing for the integrity of the November election, Spicer falsely claimed that Trump had won the election with more electoral votes “of any republican since Reagan” at 306. George H.W. Bush won the presidency with 426 electoral votes in 1988.
This post has been updated.