The head of Donald Trump's so-called "Election Integrity Commission" told MSNBC that "we'll probably never know" if Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. Except that we do know.
The head of Donald Trump's so-called "Election Integrity Commission," designed to use the federal government to enforce voter suppression schemes across the country, denied Hillary Clinton's popular vote victory against Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a strong advocate for voter suppression measures, told NBC's Katy Tur that "we'll probably never know" if Clinton won the popular vote, and that as long as allegations about "voter fraud" exist, the results would be in doubt.
Kobach's comments echo the conspiracy theory pushed by Trump and other conservatives about "voter fraud." Studies have repeatedly shown that "voter fraud" is statistically nonexistent, and that Republicans invoke it in order to justify policies that repress votes by Democratic-leaning constituencies.
Kobach later told Tur that Trump's election win may also be doubt, but then invoked an imaginary scenario where "people who are non-citizens, people who are felons, who shouldn't be voting according to the laws of that state" voted to make that happen.
His contention that "we'll probably never know" if Clinton won the popular vote is untrue.
The reality is, the 2016 presidential election results show that Clinton won the popular vote against Trump by nearly 3 million votes. Specifically, she received 2,864,974 more votes than Trump received. Those are the figures as certified by the secretaries of state for all 50 states — including Kobach — and the District of Columbia.
TUR: Do you think Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by three to five million votes? Because of voter fraud?
KOBACH: You know, we may never know the answer to that. We will probably never know the answer to that question because even if you could prove that a certain number of votes were cast by ineligible voters by example —
TUR: Is that why this commission exists? Because the president believes he would have won the popular vote?
KOBACH: No. I'm glad you asked that question because it's actually — that is not the reason the commission exists, it's not to justify, to validate or invalidate what the president said in December and January about the 2016 election. The commission is to look at the facts as they are, and to go where the facts lead us on voter fraud and for the rest of the integrity of our elections.
TUR: So, again, you think that maybe Hillary Clinton did not win the popular vote?
KOBACH: We may never know the answer to that question. [...]
TUR: So are the votes for Donald Trump that led him to win the election in doubt as well?
KOBACH: Absolutely, if there are ineligible voters, in an election, people who are non-citizens, people who are felons, who shouldn't be voting according to the laws of that state, you don't know.
TUR: So is our democratic process completely broken? Are we not — can we not be confident that when we cast a ballot, that anyone we voted for is actually going to get elected fairly?
KOBACH: That's exactly the reason the commission exists.
In addition to spreading falsehoods about the election results, Kobach's commission has been heavily criticized and is the subject of several lawsuits, including by the ACLU, because the commission is conducting much of its proceedings behind closed doors and violating federal law by doing so.
At least 41 states are refusing to go along with the group's demands for election records, fearing violations of privacy by the pro-Trump group. Ironically, even Kobach, in his capacity as secretary of state of Kansas, said the state could not comply with the commission's request.
Trump won the presidency thanks to the electoral college, which did not reflect the result chosen by a plurality of voters. He joins fellow Republican George W. Bush in the class of election winners who failed to earn the most votes.
Over the last 25 years, Republicans have only earned a majority of presidential election votes once, in 2004. In six of the last seven elections, more people voted for the Democrat: for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, for Al Gore in 2000, for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, and for Hillary Clinton 2016.
And yes, we do know that.