The FBI has said it can find no records related to former President Donald Trump’s claims in November that he «sent the FBI and US prosecutors» to stop «ballot theft» in Florida during the 2018 election.
In a letter dated March 6 and received this week by NBC News, the FBI wrote that it had searched its Central Records System but was «unable to identify records» in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from a reporter looking for records related to Trump’s claims. .
The FOIA request came a day after Trump, on November 10, described how he delivered a 2018 election victory to the now-governor. Ron DeSantis by getting the FBI to intervene to stop voter fraud in Broward County.
Trump issued the statement at a time when DeSantis, a Republican and potential presidential candidate, was receiving praise from right-wing media for his landslide re-election victory last year.
“[A]After the race, when votes were being stolen by the corrupt electoral process in Broward County, and Ron was losing ten thousand votes a day, along with now Senator Rick Scott, I sent the FBI and federal prosecutors, and the ballot theft ended immediately, just before they ran out of the votes needed to win. I stopped them from stealing their Election,» Trump said on his social media platform, Truth Social.
Trump’s claims, which he did not support with any evidence, raised serious questions about whether he used the power of the presidency to order federal agents to intervene in an election. The bar for the FBI to get involved in voter tabulation is extremely high, with strict guidelines prohibiting their presence inside polling places.
Immediately after Trump’s statement, the FBI and Justice Department declined to comment, but a former official later indicated on Twitter that Trump’s account was fabricated.
“It never happened,” former Justice Department spokesman Sarah Isgur tweeted the morning after Trump made his statement.
Trump’s comments also prompted Nikki Fried, a Democrat who was then Florida’s agriculture commissioner, to ask US Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate the claims.
“There was no broad allegation that the election was being stolen from Ron DeSantis in favor of Andrew Gillum. I know because I was on the ballot in 2018.» Fried wrote in a letter dated November 14 to Garland. Gillum was the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate who ultimately lost the race to DeSantis.
The Justice Department and Trump’s press office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
Trump’s statement in November accurately described how DeSantis bested his main opponent, Adam Putnam, after winning Trump’s endorsement for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.
DeSantis claimed victory in the general election on election night in 2018, but the race went through an automatic recount because his margin of victory over Gillum was less than 0.5%.
State election officials later said they found no evidence of voter fraud in 2018, though an audit in Broward County concluded that the election «was not conducted efficiently and effectively.»
Following Trump’s comments in November, a spokesman for the Broward County Elections Office told the Tallahassee Democrat that the office «had no documentation of any federal police presence during the 2018 election.»
As part of its FOIA request, NBC News asked the FBI to speed up its search for records. The FBI later agreed to do so, writing in a letter in February that the request justified the expedited search because it involved a «matter of widespread and exceptional media interest where there are potential questions about the integrity of the government that affect the trust of the government.» public».