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Trump Makes Unfounded Claim That 'Millions' Voted Illegally For Clinton

A woman casts her vote at a polling place inside Winfield Elementary School's gym in Windsor Mill, Md., during the state's 2016 primary.
Patrick Semansky AP
A woman casts her vote at a polling place inside Winfield Elementary School's gym in Windsor Mill, Md., during the state's 2016 primary.

Trump Alleges Voter Fraud In California Despite Lack Of Evidence
Trump Alleges Voter Fraud In California Despite Lack Of Evidence GUEST: John Myers, reporter, Los Angeles Times

I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. It's Monday, November 28 . Hillary Clinton's lead in the popular vote has risen to over 2 million. Affect that is not sitting well with Donald Trump. In a series of tweets yesterday Trump claimed millions of illegal votes have been counted and alleged serious voter fraud in several states including California. The allegations were issued with no evidence and they have been harshly denounced by various state officials and academics. Joining me is John Myers reporter with the Los Angeles Times who wrote about the allegations in the reaction. Welcome to the program. This series of tweets seems to have started after the Green Party announced efforts to reinforce it was -- reef -- is Donald Trump saying he won the popular vote? I'm not sure. That's part of the question, twitter only has 140 characters and they don't reveal the story. While this has played out nationally for some time, the counting of the vote, the questions about the states over the holidays only on Sunday afternoon did the President-elect turn his focus to different states and California in particular about this notion of as he called it, serious voter fraud. How many votes he thinks he would've gotten or Hillary Clinton got by some type of nefarious deeds. I don't know. It's unprecedented for a winning candidate to say something like this. It seems to be at odds with what we know is going on in California. We have a very slow medal count happening and we have no doubt had reports of things that seemed odd to hear or their, they were antidotes in small, something systemic has not been proved to reported. Is he saying what type of Friday believes took place? No. 140 characters is all we have. Some have said, they are concerned about immigrants illegally voting. That seems to be the fast of some of these allegations. Do we indeed have safeguards against that here in California? Sure. We doubt allow people without citizenship to cast a vote. You will find criticisms of people who have heard in an act out here or there. Some of what I have read online gets back to California and now allows a drivers license for those without legal residency who are here illegally I should say, that is not part of the process. The bottom line is that there have been -- the world of social media and online comments seem to have eclipsed what we have is actual evidence. The challenges, you have an anecdote here there, to elevated no one has proved that. Trump called out California in this latest allegation, how did the Secretary of State respond? Not surprisingly, Alex Padilla is a democrat put out a statement Sunday night and said the allegations were absurd in the tweets were reckless. I think taking a jab at Trump by saying it appears the President-elect is troubled by the fact that it looks like a majority of Americans who voted did not vote for him. We know in California, Hillary Clinton is ahead by 4 million votes. We have a few votes left account. I suspect those counts will be wrapped up in the next 48 hours. Doubling Trump and the vote in California and the lead of Clinton is a large part of why she is so far ahead in the popular vote nationally. Are there any voices here in California in support of the voter fraud allegations? I'm sure there are some. I haven't talked to everyone in the state. I did speak on Sunday with the former vice chair of the state Republican Party, she thinks the President-elect is raising the right point. Her point to me was that even if there is one allegation are one instance of fraud I should say, that should be treated as serious voter fraud. I don't believe there's anyone that thinks that any voter fraud is a good thing. The question is, whether is it on the magnitude that would change the outcome of the presidential election. There are questions and pockets of California in some instances that we want to track down. No. I think there are people that say he is writing -- raising the right point. Republicans over recent years have made allegations of widespread voter fraud. Investigations have repeatedly found those claims to be wrong. You spoke to nonpartisan voter advocates, what do they say is the fallout from these frequent claims that the voting process can't be trusted? There is a concern that what you are doing is you are sowing the seeds of doubt with a lot of voters and undermining peoples brought faith in the electoral process. The research and the reports I think you are referring to certainly have not found anything on a broad scale. I've tried to engage with as many people as possible and social media about this. I think the challenge is that people seem to equate the idea of some voter fraud with widespread voter fraud. I think that is the challenge. Even the research that has been done by analysts has found very small handful of accusations. I've been speaking with John Myers reported with the Los Angeles times. We will have more about President-elect Donald trumps connection to voters in California coming up later in today show.

President-elect Donald Trump won a convincing electoral vote victory on Nov. 8, but he is claiming falsely that widespread voter fraud cost him the popular vote.

The latest totals show Hillary Clinton leading Trump in the popular vote by more than 2 million. Trump tweeted on Sunday afternoon, "I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally." He did not provide evidence to back up that claim, and Trump's representatives did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

Trump's unfounded claim appears to have originated with the website Infowars and radio host Alex Jones, who reported that 3 million people voted illegally, citing flawed evidence. Jones frequently promotes conspiracy theories, including a false story in 2015 that President Obama was planning to use special forces to impose martial law in Texas that got traction with the state's governor for a time. Jones has also said the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., was "fake."

Trump has appeared on Jones' radio show and praised him. "Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down," Trump told him during the campaign.

PolitiFact tracked down the claim of millions of illegal votes from people who are not citizens and rated it "false." It found that the Infowars story cited a report that did not exist and tweets from an individual who claims to have such information about illegal voting but would not provide it.

The fact-checking group also cites multiple reports that show just a handful of anomalous votes in recent years. One investigation "found just 56 cases of noncitizens voting between 2000 and 2011."

Trump's claims about the popular vote would have no weight, anyway, on whether he won the election since it is decided by the Electoral College.

Trump currently has 290 Electoral College votes, according to The Associated Press — well more than the 270 he needs to win the presidency.

That total is expected to grow when Michigan certifies its vote on Monday. Trump leads in that state by more than 10,000 votes, and the state's 16 Electoral College votes would push Trump's total over 300.

Trump started tweeting on Sunday amid a push for recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Those states essentially delivered Trump victory in the presidential election, as they had made up the Democrats' so-called "blue wall" — industrial states that secured victories for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

Trump's tweets over the weekend have both criticized the calls for recounts in the three key industrial states he won, while simultaneously raising questions about the integrity of the vote nationwide. Trump tweeted another claim without evidence on Sunday evening, regarding voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California — all states Clinton won.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla responded with a statement: "It appears that Mr. Trump is troubled by the fact that a growing majority of Americans did not vote for him. His unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud in California and elsewhere are absurd. His reckless tweets are inappropriate and unbecoming of a President-elect."

As the recount proceeds in Wisconsin, Hillary Clinton's legal team will participate, citing concerns from supporters over the integrity of the vote, though the campaign says it has not seen any evidence to support those concerns. Jill Stein told NPR that she does not expect the outcome to change. Trump's margins in the states in question measure in the tens of thousands. Recounts generally have had an impact on the result of an election only when the margins are in the range of several hundred.

Stein's and Clinton's teams cited concerns over the integrity of voting systems, which Trump himself discussed during the campaign. He would often say that the only way he could lose would be if the election was "stolen," and Clinton called Trump's remark in a debate that he might not accept the results if he lost "horrifying."

Clinton conceded the race to Trump in the early morning hours of Nov. 9 and gave a speech later that day declaring "Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead."

The former Democratic nominee is not pulling back from that position, and her campaign is trying to distinguish between its decision to have legal representatives participate in the Wisconsin recount and actually promoting it, which the campaign says it has not done.

"Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves, but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides," Marc Elias, the general counsel for Clinton's campaign, wrote Saturday.

But Elias also said the campaign had received "hundreds of messages, emails, and calls urging us to do something, anything, to investigate claims that the election results were hacked and altered in a way to disadvantage Secretary Clinton." No evidence has emerged to support those claims.

Wisconsin granted the request for a recount on Friday. It's expected to start at some point this week. It will have to be completed by Dec. 13, in compliance with federal law that requires any recounts to be finished 35 days after the election. In Wisconsin, the requests came from Stein and independent candidate Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente, and they will have to cover the costs of the recount.

Stein has raised more than $6 million in support of these efforts.

The deadline to formally request a recount in Pennsylvania, where Trump had his biggest margin of victory of the three states in question, is Monday.

Michigan appears to be Trump's closest margin of victory, and the state is set to certify its results at 2 p.m. ET on Monday; then, a request for a recount must be submitted by Wednesday.

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