President Donald Trump said in a tweet Friday that the source behind his voter fraud claim is Gregg Phillips, a former Texas official with the Health and Human Services Commission.
“Look forward to seeing final results of VoteStand,” Trump tweeted Friday morning. “Gregg Phillips and crew say at least 3,000,000 votes were illegal. We must do better!”
Weeks after his November win, Trump tweeted that “millions” of people had voted illegally, which he said cost him the popular vote. Phillips, who appeared to have been the initial source of Trump’s claim, said that his Texas-based watchdog organization, True the Vote, had verified more than 3 million “non-citizens” who voted in the presidential race and was planning legal action. VoteStand is True the Vote's election fraud reporting app.
Phillips responded to Trump on Twitter on Friday: "Thank you Mr. President."
"Catherine Engelbrecht and .@TrueTheVote will lead the analysis and reporting effort from here. .@realDonaldTrump," Phillips added, referring to the president of True the Vote.
An hour before Trump’s tweet, Phillips had a combative interview on CNN, during which he claimed to have proof that 3 million people voted illegally in the November election, but refused to provide it. Phillips has repeatedly declined to show evidence of his claim to the media.
"We're talking about accusing 3 million people of multiple felonies," Phillips said to CNN host Chris Cuomo. "If we jumped out there with just our initial analysis, rather than refining it and quality checking it, we'd be out there potentially accusing some people who really aren't committing felonies of felonies."
During the interview, Phillips said he and his team use a database of voting records, and that it would take "another few months" to get everything done.
“We’ve augmented that database with everything from geocoding, to all sorts of identifying information,” Phillips added. “We’ve developed algorithms that first allow us to verify identity, we can verify residency, we can verify citizenship, felon status, and all of the other factors that go into making a legal, registered voter.”
Gregg Phillips, the man who claims to have the names of 3million who voted illegally, talks with me on New Day https://t.co/kqdG0h6nZB— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) January 27, 2017
On Thursday, True the Vote sent out a fundraising email saying it had “already initiated a comprehensive forensic audit of the 2016 Presidential election.”
Its focus, according to the email, “will include, but not be limited to, non-citizen voting, falsification of identity, double voting, mail-in ballot fraud, votes cast in the name of dead voters, and federal registration flaws.”
Following the election, the group issued a statement saying it “absolutely supports President-elect Trump's recent comment about the impact of illegal voting, as reflected in the national popular vote."
After assuming the presidency, Trump said that he intended to issue an executive order initiating an investigation into the alleged voter fraud claim. White House officials said Thursday that Trump would issue the order Friday or Saturday.
"I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and ... even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!" Trump wrote in two consecutive tweets Wednesday morning.
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Gregg Phillips, a former Texas official with the Health and Human Services Commission, appears to be the source of Trump's unsubstantiated claim that "millions" of people voted illegally in the race for the White House.
Only 15 voter fraud cases have been prosecuted by the attorney general's office between the 2012 primary election and July. None of the cases involved voter impersonation.
Even though they've won pretty much every statewide office for years, some Texas Republicans routinely complain about voter fraud, and Gov. Greg Abbott has called it "rampant."
The Obama administration argued earlier this month that Texas lawmakers intentionally discriminated when they passed a strict voter ID law in 2011.