Attorney General William Barr authorized prosecutors on Monday to look into allegations of election fraud in a letter after the media called the election despite claims of voting irregularities in several contests.
The Associated Press reported that the memo from Barr instructed prosecutors that investigations "may be conducted if there are clear and apparently-credible allegations of irregularities that, if true, could potentially impact the outcome of a federal election in an individual State."
However, he also cautioned against pursuing less credible claims.
"While serious allegations should be handled with great care, specious, speculative, fanciful or far-fetched claims should not be a basis for initiating federal inquiries," Barr wrote.
Media outlets called the election on Saturday for former Vice President Joe Biden based on a projection from reported vote counts, but President Donald Trump has claimed numerous times that he won by a large margin and that Democrats are attempting to steal the election.
Some supporters of the president praised the development.
"GREAT news from the DOJ & AG William Barr," tweeted Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.). "Every legal vote should be counted. Every fraudulent vote should be removed."
"Barr lives!" said BlazeTV host Steve Deace.
Others, like CNN legal analyst Elie Honig, saw the move as a politically motivated weaponization of the Department of Justice.
"Barr already has turned DOJ into a political weapon for Trump," tweeted Honig.
Barr already has turned DOJ into a political weapon for Trump. Now he has crossed the last line of independence, an… https://t.co/qDZlXRqPbC— Elie Honig (@Elie Honig) 1604966897.0
"Now he has crossed the last line of independence, and violated DOJ's own policy, by using the prosecutorial power to try to gin up support for Trump's desperate, last-ditch fraud narrative," he claimed. "He's way off the rails now."
While others pointed to a sentence in the statement that emphasized the DOJ had not yet confirmed any fraud that had changed the election.
"Nothing here should be taken as any indication that the Department has concluded that voting irregularities have impacted the outcome of any election," wrote Barr.
The states have until Dec. 9 to finalize their results and resolve any disputes. On Dec. 14, the Electoral College will finalize the outcome of the election.
Here's a news report about the development:
BREAKING: Barr announces DOJ investigation into presidential election www.youtube.com