Washington (CNN)On Wednesday, MSNBC's Katy Tur asked Kris Kobach a very simple question: Did Hillary Clinton win the popular vote by 3 to 5 million votes because of voter fraud?
Trump's 'election integrity' chief won't say if Hillary Clinton won the popular vote
"We will probably never know the answer to that question," said Kobach, who, not for nothing, is running President Trump's Commission on Election Integrity. "Because even if you could prove that a certain number of votes were cast by ineligible voters, for example, you wouldn't know how they voted."
We do, in fact, know the answer to that question.
And, here it is: Hillary Clinton won the popular vote over Donald Trump by 2,864,974 votes. She received 65,844,610 votes nationwide. He received 62,979,636. Those results have been certified in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. (The Cook Political Report's David Wasserman has a state-by-state popular vote count here.)
The only person claiming these results are in question is Donald Trump. (And now Kris Kobach.) In the immediate wake of the 2016 election, Trump repeatedly claimed he would have won the popular vote if 3 million to 5 million illegal votes hadn't been cast.
"In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally," he tweeted on November 27 -- less than three weeks after the 2016 election.
He provided no evidence for that claim -- likely because, well, there is no evidence to provide.
"The President does believe that, I think he's stated that before, and stated his concern of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign and continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence people have brought to him," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in January about Trump's fallacious claim.
It didn't make sense then. It doesn't make sense now.
That Kobach, who is leading a commission devoted to "election integrity," would repeat something that has ZERO evidence to back it up is remarkable. Just to be totally clear: This is not a "he said, he said" issue. Everyone in a position to know -- except Trump -- says Clinton won the popular vote.
What's even more amazing is that the Trumpian focus on the popular vote is totally pointless. We decide our presidents by the electoral college -- which Trump won! No one is disputing that fact! Trump is the president through inauguration day 2021 no matter what happened in the popular vote.
Let's say it together: Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. Donald Trump is the president.
See, that wasn't too painful!