President Donald Trump's call for an investigation into voter fraud is a "distraction" as there has been no real proof of widespread problems, Rep. Will Hurd said Friday, striking back at both Trump and a statistics advocacy group he lauded on Twitter for its claims that 3 million votes were illegal.
"There's a lot of people that are involved in our elections," the Texas Republican told CNN's "New Day" anchor Chris Cuomo. "You haven't seen the secretary of state for California talking about fraud. You haven't seen other candidates in down-ballot races where something like this would have something like this would have had a dramatic impact having this concern."
Instead, Hurd said, "I think this is a distraction from some of the real issues, like making sure we strengthen trade with Mexico, that we deal with ISIS and make sure we have a right kind of relationship with Russia."
Hurd also took issue with Gregg Phillips, the founder of the advocacy group VoteStand who spoke with Cuomo about a tweet he made just after the November election that "we have verified more than three million votes cast by non-citizens," a statement that attracted attention from Trump supporters.
Phillips told Cuomo that his operation uses a database containing 189 million voting records, and "we've augmented that database with everything from geocoding, and all kinds of identifying information.
"We've developed algorithms that first allow us to verify identify, we can verify residency, we can verify citizenship status, and all of the other factors that making a legal registered voter.”
However, Phillips admitted he hasn't finished searching the database, and after he said his work was like polling, Cuomo warned him that the research "better not be a survey," but instead a "fixed number of votes that were cast...this is about the legitimacy of a democracy."
Phillips, though, would not reveal more details about his finding, despite pressure from Cuomo, and admitted it "will probably take another few months."
Just after Phillips' interview ended Friday morning, Trump tweeted:
Hurd told Cuomo that he would not criticize him for the interview, but "these are some of the rabbit holes I don't think we should be going down. There has been zero evidence, credible evidence that I've seen or have been presented to me.
Further, the Department of Homeland Security hasn't seen anything, and it provides support to protect vetting systems, said Hurd
"I even did a hearing on one of the committees that I serve as a chairman on, on the integrity of our ballot box," said Hurd.
"I just came through a very tight election myself, so the issue of voter fraud is something that is important to me. I haven't seen any indications of any real evidence that says the contrary."
If voter fraud is for real, then it's a real concern that should be investigated, Hurd said, but as a former undercover CIA officer he has learned that "information is one thing, intelligence is something else."
There has to be properly vetted information that is fact checked, said Hurt, "and just making assumptions with no data is helpful to no one. We shouldn't be trying to create some concern around whether or not our voting processes are strong. "
Meanwhile, Hurd said he is ready for Rex Tillerson to be confirmed as secretary of state, because "it is very clear that the Russian intelligence services were involved in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee and that Russia is our adversary."
Russia, he continued, are not the allies of the United States.
"Another thing I learned when I was in the CIA, be nice to nice guys and tough with tough guys," said Hurd. "The sanctions against Russia are an important tool, not only because of this most recent hacking, but because of their previous activity, going into Ukraine, going into Crimea, the Russians going into Syria.
"The reason they're in Syria is not to prop up Bashar Al Assad. They're there in order to have an air base to project power into the Mediterranean."
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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