US prosecutors authorised to probe allegations of voting irregularities

US Attorney General Bill Barr

The US Attorney General Bill Barr has authorised federal prosecutors to probe allegations of voting irregularities in the US presidential election, US media reported on Monday. In a letter, Barr reminded prosecutors that they should examine allegations of voting irregularities before states move to certify results in the coming weeks, media reported, cited by dpa.

Ordinarily, prosecutors are only allowed to act once the final results are available. This could take days or weeks after the elections on 3November, depending on local laws. States must report their certified final results to Washington no later than 8 December.

Incumbent President Donald Trump, who has refused to concede victory, claims that there was massive electoral fraud in the presidential election. He has has launched a flurry of court filings challenging the result but has so far not provided any solid evidence to support those allegations.

Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, on Monday threw his support behind Trump's legal challenges. "President Trump is 100 per cent within his rights to look at the allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options," McConnell said on the floor of the Senate.

In his first public remarks since Democratic candidate Joe Biden was declared the winner of the election, McConnell did not acknowledge him as president-elect. Only a handful of other Republican senators have done so.

Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Democrats in the Senate, hit back that Biden won the election "fair and square," and called Trump's allegations "extremely dangerous."

Analysts are sceptical that Trump's legal challenges could affect the outcome in any significant way, and there is no indication of widespread voter fraud, which Trump claims is behind his election loss.

Meanwhile Biden on Monday announced the formation of a task force to plan his response to the coronavirus pandemic, while warning of a "dark winter" ahead. In his first policy speech on the virus after since being declared the winner of the election, Biden begged the public to wear face masks. Speaking after US pharma giant Pfizer and German firm BioNTech announced that their experimental vaccine was 90-per-cent effective in preventing Covid-19, Biden noted a vaccine would still not be widely available for months. He vowed to push out vaccine doses "free of charge" as quickly as possible, but stressed he would "follow the science."

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