Despite Trump's claims, acting DHS chief says department has no authority to send agents to polling sites

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Tim O'Donnell
·2 min read
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President Trump this week said he would send sheriffs, law enforcement officials, and U.S. attorneys to polling stations to guard against voter fraud in November's election. Analysts questioned whether he has the authority to do that since actions that could be interpreted as intimidating voters are prohibited. If anything still remained uncertain, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf cleared it up Sunday.

Wolf confirmed to CNN's Jake Tapper that his department has "expressed authorities given to us by Congress" and deploying federal law enforcement to polling sites "is not one of them." Wolf also said Trump has "absolutely" not discussed the idea with him.

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White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Trump misspoke and the president simply wants to ensure voters can safely cast their ballots, regardless of whether they're voting for Trump, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, or any other candidate. Meadows implied it wasn't voter fraud that inspired Trump's comments, but concerns about "aggressive behavior" brought on by coronavirus pandemic measures like social distancing. "If the judges at those polling places need any kind of security we're going to make sure they have the resources," he said.

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