On Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced it had opened an inquiry into nine ballots that were found “discarded,” without elaborating on what exactly that meant. All nine ballots had been cast for Trump, the release said.

The Justice Department later issued an amended statement, saying that in fact seven had been cast for Trump and two had been resealed, meaning it could not be determined for whom the other ballots were cast. The press releases did not specify any particular crime or allege any wrongdoing, and said election officials were cooperating in learning what went wrong…

“It is hard to express how illegitimate the press release is. That’s the problem,” Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School, said in an interview, noting that it wasn’t necessarily bad that the department was investigating.

“It is really improper for DOJ to be putting out a press release with partial facts,” Levitt continued. “And it is career-endingly improper to designate the candidate for whom the votes are cast. There is no federal statute on which the identity of the preferred candidate depends.”