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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Donald Trump uses vow of probe to mask false fraud claim

President Donald Trump, accompanied by Vice President Mike

President Donald Trump, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly, speaks at the Homeland Security Department in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. Photo Credit: AP

By suddenly answering his critics’ challenges to launch an investigation, President Donald Trump tried to combat the widespread and bipartisan ridicule heaped on him for saying that an enormous fraud robbed him of the popular vote.

Trump said he’d ask for a voter-fraud probe, apparently from the Justice Department, dealing with “those registered to vote in two states” and “those registered to vote who are dead.”

But he already told Congress members that 3 million to 5 million “illegal” votes for Hillary Clinton robbed him of a popular vote win. Does that mean likely Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions had better find something to back it up, or else?

Maybe Sessions can fall back on a timeworn GOP assertion that irregularities and foul-ups common to voting procedures in America are rampant and only help Democrats — even if both parties’ officials report they are incidental or isolated.

The New York City-based Brennan Center for Justice declared: “An expensive investigation of imaginary voting fraud is not needed. It could easily devolve into a witch hunt.

“There is no evidence of massive voter fraud — none.”

But the center should give Trump more credit. After all, he knows some of “those registered to vote in two states.”

According to documents and published reports: White House adviser Stephen Bannon has been registered simultaneously in New York and Florida, Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin in California and New York, and Trump’s younger daughter, Tiffany Trump, in New York and Pennsylvania.

Being registered in two places is legal. And the deceased showing up on the rolls has long been considered a less-than-conspiratorial matter of slow election-roll housekeeping.

States run elections. Republicans control 33 governorships. In New York — which Trump lost by a whopping 1.7 million votes — major parties jointly control election boards.

Recent contention between the major parties involves voter ID laws. Republicans usually say they want them to fend off voter fraud; Democrats say Republicans want them so they can suppress votes in certain districts.

When Green Party candidate Jill Stein tried to force a vote recount in Michigan last month, Trump’s lawyers assailed the effort as a trick “to sow doubts regarding the legitimacy of the presidential election.” Trump’s filing stated: “All available evidence suggests that the 2016 general election was not tainted by fraud or mistake.”

Just because a problem doesn’t exist, though, doesn’t mean you can’t devise a politically expedient solution to it. Maybe Trump is cut out for status-quo Washington after all.

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