White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows criticized FBI Director Christopher Wray on Friday after Wray told a congressional committee that, contrary to President Donald Trump's claims, he has seen no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
"With all due respect to Director Wray, he has a hard time finding emails in his own FBI, let alone figuring out whether there's any kind of voter fraud," Meadows said on "CBS This Morning" when asked about Wray's statement. He suggested Wray "drill down" on existing voter fraud investigations, such as the nine discarded ballots the Justice Department said it was investigating in Pennsylvania.
"Perhaps he needs to get involved on the ground and then he would change his testimony on Capitol Hill," Meadows said.
On Thursday, the FBI director told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, "We have not seen, historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it's by mail or otherwise."
"Your answer is clear: You've not seen any widespread fraud by mail and it's something the FBI watches continuously to make sure that's not happening," said Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich.
"That's something we would investigate seriously and aggressively," Wray agreed.
While the FBI has seen voter fraud "at the local level, from time to time," Wray said it "would be a major challenge for an adversary" to "change a federal election outcome by mounting that kind of fraud at scale."
"But people should make no mistake, we're vigilant as to the threat and watching it carefully because we're in uncharted territory," said Wray, who has warned of the dangers posed by foreign election interference efforts and a "steady drumbeat of misinformation."
With all due respect to Director Wray, he has a hard time finding emails in his own FBI, let alone figuring out whether there's any kind of voter fraud.” — White House Chief of Staff @MarkMeadows on FBI Dir. Christopher Wray saying he's seen no evidence of widespread voter fraud pic.twitter.com/W5PUfpnWCn
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) September 25, 2020
Concerns about the spread of COVID-19 has prompted many states to expand early voting options, including voting by mail. Trump has railed against that effort for months, claiming, without evidence, that mailed-in ballots are part an effort to rig the election against him. Despite polls that consistently show him trailing the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Trump has insisted the only way he could lose the election was if it was "stolen."
Recently, Trump has cited his unfounded claims about voting by mail as a reason he might not accept the election results. This week, he sparked bipartisan backlash after taking the unprecedented step of refusing to commit to a peaceful transition of power because of his professed concerns about voter fraud.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mark Meadows rips FBI head Wray, who contradicted Trump on voter fraud