POLITICS

Homeland Security Cannot Send Agents To Polling Sites: Acting DHS Secretary

President Donald Trump earlier said he plans to have “everybody,” including various law enforcement officials, guard against voter fraud.

The acting secretary of homeland security said Sunday that he does not have the authority to send agents to guard polling places in November, contradicting recent statements by President Donald Trump.

“We don’t have any authority to do that at the department,” acting secretary Chad Wolf told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

Trump told Fox News Thursday that he plans to send “everybody” — including law enforcement officials and “hopefully U.S. attorneys” — to polling places to guard against voter fraud, an issue he has repeatedly raised despite a lack of evidence that such fraud is widespread.

Chad Wolf, acting Secretary of Homeland Security, speaks at the White House in July.
Chad Wolf, acting Secretary of Homeland Security, speaks at the White House in July.

Federal law prohibits anyone in the civil, military or naval services of the U.S. to order or bring troops or “armed men” to any location where a general or special election is being held, “unless such force be necessary to repel armed enemies of the United States.”

Wolf denied that Trump made such a request to his department and its agents. “That’s not what we do at the Department of Homeland Security,” he said.

With roughly 10 weeks before the November election, Trump has seemed to try to undermine the election by repeatedly spreading false or misleading claims about voter fraud, particularly when it comes to voting by mail. 

Wolf told Tapper that his department has not received any intelligence that foreign entities are attempting to interfere in the upcoming election, at least in terms of election infrastructure, which he said his department focuses on.

“But we do know about the disinformation campaigns and China, Russia, Iran, all go about that a little differently,” he said.

Tapper also asked Wolf about Trump’s publicly expressed support of followers of QAnon — a fringe right-wing conspiracy theory linked to acts of violence — and whether Trump should be informed of its extremist behaviors. Wolf appeared to brush off any concern, saying that the situation with the president is not a threat “that rises to a significant level.”

“There are many other threats here domestically as well as overseas that we’re focused on, and we’ll continue to look at those and address those,” he said.