Jan. 26, 2017 (UPI) — President Donald Trump was expected to sign an executive order Thursday to launch an investigation into allegations of voter fraud that affected November’s election — but that action was postponed instead.
“The president got back a little late, and he got jammed up on some meetings that needed to occur, and so we’re going to roll all that into Friday and Saturday,” Trump’s press secretary said.
Trump has repeatedly said he believes between 3 million and 5 million people voted illegally in the presidential election, though he has not presented any evidence to support the claim. He tweeted earlier this week that he intended to launch a federal investigation.
Trump told a group of lawmakers earlier this week he believes voter fraud caused him to lose the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by some 3 million ballots. The anticipated investigation will also review voting aspects apart from the November election.
“It will be a follow-up on the announcement yesterday of his commitment to better understand voter fraud, faulty registration, etc.,” Spicer said in a briefing with reporters aboard Air Force One for Trump’s trip to Philadelphia, where Republican lawmakers are holding a retreat.
Reporters challenged Spicer on what evidence Trump has seen of fraud.
“He continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence that people have presented to him,” Spicer said.
Other Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, have said they do not believe such evidence exists, and that there was not widespread voter fraud as Trump has claimed.
The executive order was supposed to happen one day after The New York Times reported that Trump was deeply influenced on the issue after a story told to him by the German golfer Bernard Langer. According to the Times, Trump told a bipartisan group of lawmakers a story about Langer being denied the right to vote while Latinos at a Florida polling station were permitted to fill out provisional ballots.
The White House and Langer have disputed the Times’ report. Langer denied speaking to Trump about the matter, and a White House aide said the Times’ anecdote mischaracterized the meeting with lawmakers.