The author of a study that claims to show millions of illegal votes were cast in the presidential election refused to produce evidence support his allegation during a contentious and lengthy interview with CNN.
In 12-minute exchange with CNN’s Chris Cuomo Friday, VoteStand founder Gregg Phillips alleged he has the names of three million individuals who voted illegally, but that he needs more time to prepare a public report to ensure accuracy and because the work is being completed by volunteers.
“We’re going to release all of this to the public. We are going to release our methodology and release the broad data and our conclusions and we’re going to release everything to the public as soon as we get done with the checks,” he said, when pressed by Cuomo. “(We) believe it will probably take another few months to get this done.”
Phillips’ remarks were apparently noticed by Trump, who tweeted minutes later that he was looking forward to reviewing the results of the investigation.
Phillips, a former Texas Health and Human Services Commission deputy commissioner, is the founder of a self- described big data healthcare software company focused on eligibility, enrollment and data verification, according to his website. He is also the founder of VoteStand, self-described as “the first mobile anti-vote fraud app,” which appears to rely on users to submit evidence of suspected voter fraud.
Phillips rose to national prominence the Sunday after election day, before any states had certified their results, when he alleged in a tweet that he had uncovered mass voter fraud, research which was debunked as “false” by Politifact.
Much of the lengthy exchange between Cuomo and Phillips on Friday seemed to go in circles as the “New Day” anchor asked at least 10 times for Phillips to provide proof for his claims.
“Do you have the proof?” asked Cuomo.
“Yes,” replied Phillips.
“Will you provide it?” replied Cuomo.
“Yes,” said Phlllips.
“Can I have it?” pressed Cuomo.
“No,” said Phillips.
In another part of the interview, Phillips said he would release the evidence “when the time is right.”
“What does that mean?” asked Cuomo. “When the time is right? The time is right right now. That’s why we’re here. I didn’t bump into you in the hallway. You came here to talk about this.”
Phillips remained defiant, however, telling Cuomo that lack of available evidence had no bearing on the ultimate truth of his allegations.
“Whether you believe it or not doesn’t mean that it’s not true,” he said. “Whether you have the information or not doesn’t mean I don’t have the information. Truth is truth, irrespective.”
Trump, for his part, has continued to repeat the claim voter fraud had cost him the popular vote. Clinton won it by nearly 3 million votes.
On Wednesday, the President tweeted he would order the federal government to launch an investigation into the mater.
“I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and … even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!”
Friday’s exchange quickly drew fire from pundits and politicians alike who cast doubt on Philllips’ and the President’s assertions.
Carl Bernstein called it a “wild assertion” and compared it to Trump’s birtherism, the debunked conspiracy theory about former President Barack Obama’s citizenship.
“There is no known basis of fact,” he said. “It is in the realm of lying absent any proof by this one person. It’s extraordinary the country can get taken on a ride.”
Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger also denounced the claims moments later, saying they undermined the idea of an election and the Constitution.