Kobach: 'Election integrity' panel 'not set up to prove or to disprove' Trump

Story highlights

  • The Kansas secretary of state said the panel will "go where the facts lead" despite critics' concerns
  • Kobach has repeatedly backed Trump's baseless claim that millions of illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election

Washington (CNN)The Trump administration's new "election integrity" commission "is not set up to prove or to disprove" President Donald Trump's unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud, according to the vice chair of the commission.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who was tapped to help Vice President Mike Pence lead the panel, defended the commission in an interview on CNN's "New Day" Monday.
Kobach insisted the group will "go where the facts lead us" despite concerns from critics who point out that Kobach repeatedly supported Trump's claim -- made without evidence -- that millions of votes were cast illegally in the 2016 election.
    "The commission is not set up to disprove or to prove President Trump's claim, nor is it just looking at the 2016 election. We're looking at all forms of election irregularities, voter fraud, voter registration fraud, voter intimidation, suppression, and looking at the vulnerabilities of the various elections we have in each of the 50 states," Kobach told "New Day" co-host Chris Cuomo.
    Kobach said the commission has two goals: a "nationwide fact-finding effort" on voter fraud followed by recommendations to states based on the findings.
    "If there's a recommendation for federal legislation, that may come out, too," Kobach added.
    Pressed by Cuomo to respond to the multitude of surveys that show minimal levels of voter fraud, Kobach was dismissive.
    "You try to extrapolate from that survey to the entire country, and that's really hard to do. And as we all know, surveys have their flaws," he said.
    But Kobach, emphasizing that the commission will be bipartisan, said the group will also look at election critiques frequently made by those on the left. The commission does have some Democratic members who have been dismissive of Trump's claims, including the secretaries of state for both Maine and New Hampshire.
    "In addition to focusing on voter fraud, and election irregularities, the commission will also be looking at the claims of voter suppression, claims that certain laws depress turnout, things like that," Kobach explained.