Justice Department officials sent out a letter to prosecutors early Wednesday morning saying that prosecutors could install armed agents at vote-counting areas to oversee the tabulations and investigate voter fraud.
The letter was sent out about an hour ahead of President Donald Trump’s victory speech, the New York Times reported.
“The email created the specter of the federal government intimidating local election officials or otherwise intervening in vote tallying amid calls by President Trump to end the tabulating in states where he was trailing in the presidential race,” former officials told the Times.
There are laws in place that prevent armed guards at polling stations, which can be seen as voter intimidation, but there are no laws about posting them during ballot counting.
The law “does not prevent armed federal law enforcement persons from responding to, investigate, or prevent federal crimes at closed polling places or at other locations where votes are being counted,” DOJ official Richard Donoghue, said in the email dated Nov. 4, 2020, at 1:30 a.m.
Donoghue is the No. 2 at the office of the deputy attorney general.
Trump has launched a series of lawsuits demanding that the counting stop in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia.