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FBI Director Wray Disputes Trump's Theory of Possible Mail-In Ballot Interference by Foreign Agents

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FBI Director Wray Disputes Trump's Theory of Possible Mail-In Ballot Interference by Foreign Agents

2020-09-25 15:27:35

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Christopher Wray (Image source: Public domain)

Donald Trump has spoken often about voter fraud and has insisted that allowing more mail-in voting because of the pandemic will lead to more fraud, even interference by foreign agents. But the facts just don't support that.

Even FBI Director Christopher A. Wray disagrees with the president. He told senators on Thursday that he has not experienced large-scale voter fraud by mail or any other means. He added that it would be a "major challenge" for another country to even attempt it.

"Americans must have confidence in our voting system and our election infrastructure," the director told the Senate Homeland Security Committee. "We are not going to tolerate foreign interference in our elections."

Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) wanted Wray to speak specifically about Trump's claims that the elections could experience foreign interference with bogus mail-in ballots. Wray noted nothing of the like has been seen so far during this election cycle.

 "We have not seen historically any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it's by mail or otherwise," stated Wray. However, he also said fraud has been detected "at the local level from time to time."

It appeared that Wray didn't want to get on Trump's bad side by directly going against his claims. He said he was "in no way minimizing" that there could be threats. Yet, he doubled down by saying changing the outcome of a federal election "would be a major challenge for an adversary." He added that the bureau "would investigate seriously" if it saw any indications of an effort like that.

After the director testified, federal prosecutors in Pennsylvania said in a statement that they had found nine discarded military mail-in ballots during an investigation into a small number of such votes. Nine ballots had been marked for Trump, and the other two were still sealed, so the presidential choice was unknown.

Not surprisingly, Trump's campaign quickly charged that "Democrats are trying to steal the election."

That same day, Trump also urged users in the battleground state of Florida to "make sure to request" a mail-in ballot and submit it.

Wray has tried to keep the FBI out of the partisan fights with the election looming. At a hearing last week, he told lawmakers that Russia hopes to "denigrate" Democratic candidate Joe Biden through social media.

This was upsetting to Trump, as he wants voters to think only his opponent is potentially receiving foreign help. He said they were not only soft on Antifa but that Wray had not mentioned that China wants to see Biden elected.

The president was asked is he'd consider removing Wray as FBI director because of his testimony, and he replied, "We're looking at a lot of different things."

"I did not like his answers," said Trump last week. "I'm not sure he liked them either. I'm sure he probably would agree with me."

Wray warned Americans to be wary of disinformation that is designed to manipulate their votes. He preached common sense and good judgment when looking at content online. 

"I would encourage people to be critical thinkers and to get their news from a variety of sources and make up their own mind and be a skeptical, discerning electorate — which is what I think is the best defense against malign foreign influence," said the FBI director.

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