News anchor Alisyn Camerota was left in disbelief during a CNN interview on Thursday. One of the Trump supporters she was interviewing falsely claimed the network put out a report that 3 million immigrants voted illegally in the 2016 election.
"Voting is a privilege in this country and you need to be legal, not like California where 3 million illegals voted," Paula Johnson, of Nashua, New Hampshire, told Camerota, a co-anchor of the New Day programme.
"Where are you getting your information?" Camerota challenged her, asking Johnson to explain her source. "From the media," Johnson said. "Some of them were CNN, I believe. Well it was coming all across the media."
Johnson and a panel of other longtime Trump supporters appeared in an interview that aired 1 December. Camerota was following up with them after an interview during the campaign in July. She wanted to see how satisfied the panel are with the appointees and cabinet picks Trump has made so far.
The claim regarding large-scale voter fraud is false and has been proven so by officials and fact-checkers across the political spectrum. These include PolitiFact, which is an offshoot of The Miami Herald and seven other newspapers, as well as Factcheck.org, a non-profit organisation. California's Secretary of State, Alex Padilla also said, "allegations of voter fraud in California and elsewhere are absurd." New Hampshire's own Republican governor-elect has also disputed the claim.
But President-elect Donald Trump repeated it overnight Monday (28 November) after Green Party leader Jill Stein launched a campaign to have recounts in three states last week. Trump also said he would have won the popular vote if illegal immigrants hadn't voted. By current counts his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.5 million ballots.
George W Bush speechwriter David Frum said, "it matters when the president lies" in response to Johnson's claims during the CNN interview.
"I believe in California that there were illegals that voted," Johnson told Camerota when asked to back up her claims with details about how many illegal voters there were. "To tell you the truth, nobody really knows that," Johnson said.
She and another woman on the panel, Susan DeLemus, a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, both alleged they had heard President Barack Obama say that illegal immigrants can vote.
"The president told people they can vote and it happened in Nashua," said Johnson. "They went into Nashua and said, 'the president said I can vote' I'm here illegally.'" But New Hampshire's own Republican Governor-elect Chris Sununu said "no evidence of voter fraud" has been brought to his attention.
When pressed on the evidence for the claim on Obama they replied: "Google it. You can find it on Facebook." This brings up a video on Fox in which Obama encourages Latino American citizens to go to the polls, even if they have an undocumented relative. An unedited transcript of what the President said is available. Just four examples of voter fraud have been identified in the 2016 election.