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Trump encourages North Carolina residents to test system by voting twice

President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-Trump lawyer Cohen to pen forward for impeachment book Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again Man known as 'QAnon Shaman' asks Trump for pardon after storming Capitol MORE on Wednesday suggested supporters in North Carolina should illegally attempt to vote both by mail and in person, saying doing so would test the integrity of the system.

Asked by reporters whether he trusted North Carolina’s mail-in balloting system, the president responded, "Let them send it in, and let them go vote, and if their system's as good as they say it is, then obviously they won't be able to vote. If it isn't tabulated, they'll be able to vote."

"If it's as good as they say it is, then obviously they won't be able to vote. If it isn't tabulated, they'll be able to vote. So that's the way it is. And that's what they should do," he added. Voting more than once in the same election is illegal.

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The president has frequently attacked mail-in voting as rife with fraud, even as experts have said there is minimal evidence to support such claims. He has also often drawn a distinction between mail-in and absentee voting, the latter of which he has called acceptable. Many states do not make such a distinction. Both Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpGarth Brooks, Joan Baez among this year's Kennedy Center honorees Melania Trump says she was 'disappointed and disheartened' watching Capitol riots The Hill's Morning Report - House to impeach Trump this week MORE requested absentee ballots to vote in the Florida primary earlier this year.

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee are currently suing several states for moving to expand access to mail-in balloting during the coronavirus pandemic. Such lawsuits are currently pending in states including Nevada, New Jersey and Montana.

Asked about the comments in a CNN interview, Attorney General William BarrBill BarrActing attorney general condemns Capitol riots, warns 'no tolerance' for violence at Biden inauguration Barr, White House counsel told Trump not to self-pardon: report Trump condemns riots, says he will focus on transition in taped remarks MORE did not respond directly and said he was not aware of specific North Carolina laws on voter fraud. However, he claimed a 2005 bipartisan election reform report indicated mail-in balloting is “fraught with the risk of fraud and coercion.”

Questioned about the lack of findings of widespread fraud, Barr said, "We haven't had the kind of widespread use of mail-in ballots that's being proposed."

The Hill has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment.