Trump Thinks Millions of Immigrants Voted Illegally in the Election—But Delays and Lawsuits Have Hit Probe Into Claim

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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump vote at PS 59 in New York, New York, November 8, 2016. Reuters/ Carlo Allegri

Days after winning the election but reportedly smarting from reports of his loss in the popular vote, Trump asserted that illegal immigrants were to blame.

“In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” Trump tweeted on November 26.

Almost a year later and with no evidence having been presented by the administration to support the claim, a special bipartisan commission set up to investigate the allegation has no plans to meet again this year. 

Court records cited by Politico showed that the president’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity will not meet again in 2017.

According to the documents cited by Politico, a justice department attorney told U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly that the commission “will not meet in December.”

The commissions charter calls for meetings approximately every two months—with the commission having last met on September 12. Federal rules require committee meetings to be announced 15 days in advance.

The commission has been mired in controversy and hit by a series of setbacks since it was formed in May after an executive order from Trump, with Vice President Mike Pence as its chairman and Kansas Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as vice chairman.

Twenty-four states have resisted the panel's attempts to obtain voter rolls, which include social security information and criminal records, citing privacy concerns.

Voters' rights have also launched lawsuits alleging the bid to obtain voter information breaks privacy laws. They claim that in Kansas, Kobach has used concerns over voter fraud to suppress the votes of minority and poor voters. 

In October, a panel staff member helping to research the claims was arrested on child pornography charges. 

That same month, one of the five Democrats on the panel, Arkansas State Representative David Dunn, died unexpectedly during heart surgery.

And last week a Democrat member of the panel— Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap—sued it for denying him access to deliberations and information—accusations denied by Kobach.

It was revealed that no further meetings of the panel were going ahead this year as part of a hearing on Kobach's lawsuit. 

Another Democratic member of the panel, Alan King, a probate judge in Jefferson County, Alabama, has called on the committee to urgently disclose its plans and what it has been working on or disband entirely.

“Based on what I’ve read and accounts, it wouldn’t surprise me,” King told the Huffington Post in October. “It wouldn’t surprise me if this whole commission was set up and they had an end result in mind when this commission was first originated.”

Kobach has described claims the commission is witholding information as “baseless and paranoid.” In a statement provided by his office in November, Kobach said outside issues have stalled the commission’s work.