Trump's chief of staff goes after the FBI director for not echoing the president's baseless claims on voter fraud

  • FBI Director Christoper Wray told senators on Thursday that the agency has not seen "historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it's by mail or otherwise."
  • Wray's comments contradicted President Donald Trump's baseless assertions about mail-in ballots leading to widespread voter fraud.
  • White House chief of staff Mark Meadows responded by denigrating Wray on CBS News on Friday morning.
  • "With all due respect to Director Wray, he has a hard time finding emails in his own FBI, let alone figuring out whether there's any kind of voter fraud," Meadows said.
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White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Friday attacked FBI Director Christopher Wray over his testimony to senators the day prior that threw cold water on President Donald Trump's baseless assertions about voter fraud. 

"With all due respect to Director Wray, he has a hard time finding emails in his own FBI, let alone figuring out whether there's any kind of voter fraud," Meadows said during an appearance on "CBS This Morning." 

When asked about the security of mail-in voting on Thursday, Wray told members of the Senate Homeland Security Committee that the FBI has "not seen, historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it's by mail or otherwise."

Wray's comments directly contradict Trump's months-long effort to undermine the legitimacy of the 2020 election via bogus claims about mail-in voting leading to widespread electoral fraud.

More than a dozen states have made it easier to vote by mail in the 2020 election amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. But Trump, who is trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in national polls, has repeatedly pushed the unfounded notion that the expanded access to mail-in voting will lead the election to be "rigged" against him.

The president has controversially refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election, which could push the US into uncharted territory and a constitutional crisis. Historians and other experts have warned that Trump's behavior mirrors that of dictators the US often condemns.

In most administrations, it would be highly unorthodox for the White House chief of staff to insult the FBI director publicly and on national TV. But in the Trump administration, officials who've contradicted the president in any way have frequently been the target of public criticism — regardless of the validity of their statements. 

Voter fraud is extremely rare in the US. According to a recent analysis by The Washington Post, there were only 372 cases of potential fraud out of approximately 14.6 million ballots cast by mail  — accounting for just 0.0025% of all mail-in ballots — in 2016 and 2018.

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