Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state and vice chairman of President Trump’s voter fraud panel, said the country “may never know” if Hillary Clinton actually won the popular vote.
Pressed by NBC News’s Katy Tur in a Wednesday interview about whether Clinton won the popular vote in the 2016 election, Kobach quickly cast doubt on the results, saying, “We will probably never know the answer to that question.”
But he said the votes that led to President Trump’s electoral victory in November were “absolutely” in doubt, as well.
Kobach, one of the nation’s most ardent supporters of voter identification laws, attended the first meeting of Trump’s voter fraud commission earlier Wednesday. The panel is charged with investigating the president’s widely debunked claim that millions of illegal voters cost him the popular vote in November.
Results showed that Clinton won the popular tally by about 2.9 million votes.
Kobach denied that the purpose of the commission is to investigate or validate Trump’s specific claims of voter fraud, saying that it was created simply to ensure and maintain the integrity of U.S. elections.
“It’s not to justify, to validate or invalidate what the president said in December or January about the 2016 election,” he said. “The commission is to look at the facts as they are and go where the facts lead us.”
Shortly before he spoke with MSNBC, Kobach defended President Trump for devoting a healthy portion of his remarks at Wednesday’s panel meeting to the ills of voter fraud.
“One thing that the president didn’t say was he didn’t talk about the 2016 election, he didn’t ask the commission to validate or investigate any statements he’s made in the past about the 2016 election. That’s important, that’s not our charge,” Kobach told reporters after the meeting concluded.
“Our charge is to look at the facts as they exist out there about what voter fraud exists, what form exists, what vulnerabilities there are in the system, and to present that information to the president and then the American public.”
Trump has claimed, without evidence, that widespread voter fraud handing Democrat Hillary Clinton the popular vote in November’s presidential election.
Kobach has in the past pushed the notion of widespread voter fraud in U.S. elections, though election officials and experts have largely debunked that claim.