On CNN Tuesday afternoon, Jake Tapper dared President Trump to launch an investigation to prove his baseless, widely debunked assertion that 3-5 million people voted illegally in the last election. Trump did just that on Wednesday, and in an interview with ABC's David Muir that aired Wednesday night, Muir asked him about his extraordinary claim. Trump stood by it, mostly.
"You have people that are registered who are dead, who are illegals, who are in two states," Trump said. "You have people registered in two states. They're registered in a New York and a New Jersey. They vote twice. There are millions of votes, in my opinion." Muir pointed out that "what you have presented so far has been debunked," and Trump disagreed: "No, it hasn't. Take a look at the Pew reports." Muir said he spoke with the author of the Pew report on Tuesday night and he'd said they found no evidence of fraud. "Really? Then why did he write the report?" Trump asked. "Excuse me, then why did he write the report?"
Trump proffered a theory: "He's groveling again. You know, I always talk about the reporters that grovel when they wanna write something that you wanna hear but not necessarily millions of people wanna hear or have to hear.... Now, you're telling me Pew report has all of a sudden changed. But you have other reports and you have other statements." He said that his investigation will vindicate him, and that of the millions of illegal votes, "none of 'em come to me," adding later, "They all voted for Hillary. They didn't vote for me. I don't believe I got one."
Wolf Blitzer played part of the interview on Wednesday night, then brought on the lead author of the Pew study, David Becker, to respond.
"The reasons we wrote the report is because we were studying the degree to which records were out of date, mostly because people move," Becker said. Trump was right that there are millions of voters on rolls who have moved, and in 2012 there were up to 1.8 million people who died since they last voted, he said, "but there's a big leap between an out-of-date record, an administrative inefficiency on a list, and the act of voter fraud. It just doesn't happen. This is not something that hasn't been looked at," he added, but the regular state and federal investigations have found that voter fraud just isn't a problem.