A Justice Department career official who oversees the DOJ’s election crimes unit resigned on Monday night, several hours after Attorney General Bill Barr issued a new Trump-friendly policy authorizing investigations into allegations of mass voter fraud before the election results are certified.
Richard Pilger, the director of the election crimes branch at the department’s Public Integrity Section (PIN), sent an email to his colleagues announcing that he was stepping down in response to the new rule.
“Having familiarized myself with the new policy and its ramifications, […] I must regretfully resign from my role as Director of the Election Crimes Branch,” Pilger wrote.
He told his colleagues that PIN Deputy Chief Robert Heberle would serve as acting director of the branch, and assured them that PIN “remains committed to operating properly in all of its functions.”
Earlier on Monday evening, Barr released a memo informing federal prosecutors that under the new policy, they may pursue “substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities prior to the certification of elections” in their jurisdictions. Critics slammed the rule change and accused Barr of feeding into President Donald Trump’s undemocratic efforts to undermine President-elect Joe Biden’s legitimate victory by baselessly crying voter fraud.
A DOJ official claimed in an interview with the New York Times that Trump, who has refused to concede the race to Biden, nor GOP lawmakers had asked Barr to enact the policy.
Trump has been on a crusade to steal the election with bogus accusations that his defeat was caused by mass voter fraud despite the fact that such fraud has not been proven to exist.