Top DOJ lawyer Richard Pilger resigns after Barr’s directive

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A top lawyer, Richard Pilger, at the US Justice Department has resigned in protest, following the Attorney General William Barr’s directive to prosecutors to “pursue substantial allegations” of irregularities of voting and the counting of ballots.

Barr’s authorization prompted the Justice Department official who oversees investigations of voter fraud to step down from the post within hours, according to an email Pilger sent to colleagues

Barr told prosecutors in a letter on Monday that “fanciful or far-fetched claims” should not be a basis for investigation.

His letter did not indicate the Justice Department had uncovered voting irregularities affecting the outcome of the election.

The directive prompted Richard Pilger, who for years has served as director of the Election Crimes Branch, to resign from his post, citing in an internal email “the new policy and its ramifications”.

The previous Justice Department policy, designed to avoid interjecting the federal government into election campaigns, had discouraged overt investigations “until the election in question has been concluded, its results certified, and all recounts and election contests concluded”.

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