On her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Thursday, anchor Andrea Mitchell didn’t bat an eye as her guest, Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings, hurled the wild unsubstantiated allegation that Republicans had denied “millions” of Americans the right to vote.
Mitchell had teed up Cummings to denounce President Trump’s “investigation into the so-called voter fraud claims, which we know have been discredited by every fact finder and research group.” In his response, the liberal lawmaker went beyond criticizing Trump’s exaggerated claims on the issue and denied the very existence of the problem: “Andrea, let's be clear. There is no voter fraud to speak of....it's like chasing a rabbit that doesn't exist.”
After making that blatantly false statement, Cummings went further: “Republican legislatures and governors have been denying people the right to vote....hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people are today not able to vote because of these restrictive laws, that's a major problem.”
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Despite being so keen on fact-checking the President’s comments on voting, Mitchell failed to challenge the Maryland Democrat on his outlandish accusations.
Here is a transcript of the January 26 exchange:
12:16 PM ET
ANDREA MITCHELL: Also we know that there is going to be an executive action later today by President Trump on an investigation into the so-called voter fraud claims, which we know have been discredited by every fact finder and research group. What do you think of that? Chairman [Jason] Chaffetz said that he sees no reason for a congressional investigation and if the President wants to do it on his own he’s got a Justice Department. Where do we stand?
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS: Andrea, let's be clear. There is no voter fraud to speak of. And the thing that is so insulting to me and to so many others is that we have seen over and over again where Republican legislatures and governors have been denying people the right to vote. Back in 2014, in Texas, a court found that 600,000 people were denied the right to vote because of all of these restrictive laws and voter I.D. laws. And I had said to my colleagues that if they want to do an investigation, do an investigation to make sure that every person has a right to vote. And that’s my concern.
This is a smoke screen. This is – it's like chasing a rabbit that doesn't exist that – the voter fraud. But the fact that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people are today not able to vote because of these restrictive laws, that's a major problem. That's what we should be looking at. And I'm hoping that the Republicans will bring legislation to the floor of the House whereby we can restore the Voting Rights Act. Because as you know, the Supreme Court pretty much gutted it. And so now you’ve got African-American people and others who are being denied the right to vote. That's the bigger question. And so if they’re going to do an investigation, they need to do that investigation.
MITCHELL: Well, the Justice Department has already signaled that it's not going to ask for a continuance. It's not going to, you know, go to that hearing that was supposed to be this week on the voter I.D. law in Texas.