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Trump's campaign against imaginary voter fraud quietly fades

The White House vowed an executive order to launch a voter-fraud investigation. Whatever happened to that?
A voting booth at the Early Vote Center, Oct. 5, 2016, in northeast Minneapolis, Minn. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/AFP/Getty)
A voting booth at the Early Vote Center, Oct. 5, 2016, in northeast Minneapolis, Minn.
It was just last week when Donald Trump, with great vigor and enthusiasm, railed against widespread voter fraud that appears to exist only in his mind. It stemmed from the new president's ongoing belief that he secretly won the popular vote when one excludes the millions of illegally cast ballots -- despite the fact that literally no one has any proof to substantiate this ridiculous claim.Bizarre or not, Trump and his White House team nevertheless seemed eager to pursue the non-existent problem. Last week, Trump World even planned to take the entire strange story to the next level.

President Trump plans to sign an executive order Thursday afternoon related to voter fraud, his press secretary told reporters without providing additional details.A day earlier, Trump called for a "major investigation into VOTER FRAUD" in back-to-back tweets that said such a probe would cover "those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal" and "those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time)."

And so, on Thursday afternoon, we waited for the news, which never came.

After talking about voter fraud all week, President Trump abruptly postponed a scheduled ceremony Thursday in which he was to have signed an executive order calling for a government investigation into illegal voting.White House aides announced the postponement of the event in late afternoon.... "The president got back a little late, and he got jammed up on some meetings that needed to occur," said White House press secretary Sean Spicer. "We're going to roll all [of the executive-order signings] into Friday and Saturday."

To be sure, Trump rolled out some additional directives, including the controversial Muslim ban, but the White House's interest in an order launching an investigation into a non-existent phenomenon wasn't among them.So, did Trump World lose interest? Did the president and his team get distracted by equally outlandish priorities? Did it suddenly dawn on them that spending Americans' money to investigate imaginary problems is tough to defend?For her part, Kellyanne Conway appeared on NBC's "Today" show last week and asked, in reference to a voter-fraud investigation, "Why not?"It's a curious perspective. There's no evidence of a problem, so why not launch an investigation to see if officials can find some evidence and make the president feel better about losing the popular vote?On a related note, why don't we give Bigfoot a government contract to search for the Loch Ness Monster? There's no evidence that such creatures exist, but without a federal investigation, how can we know for sure?