The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: fake electors

Republican 'Election Integrity' Official Eyed For Role In Fake Elector Scheme

The rapidly expanding federal probe into the events of January 6, 2021 appears to be focused on a senior Republican National Committee official, Politico reports.

The Justice Department, according to reports, has issued subpoenas in the seven battleground states where former President Donald Trump’s campaign and his allies pushed slates of fake electors as part of a failed campaign to subvert the electoral count.

Subpoenas issued to some witnesses in the DOJ fake elector investigation include the name of Joshua Findlay, the RNC’s national "director for election integrity."

Three witnesses — two in Arizona and one in Georgia — received subpoenas from the DOJ demanding that they turn over all correspondence “[t]o, from, with, or including” Findlay, whom the report notes served Trump’s 2020 campaign in various capacities, including as a lawyer on the campaign’s legal team, before joining the RNC.

According to RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Findlay’s role is to ensure “voters have confidence in future election processes" -- an ironic description for an official who promoted fake electors.

Findlay is not a central figure in the House Select Committee’s January 6 investigation. However, the head of the Trump campaign’s legal team, Matt Morgan, mentioned Findlay in his testimony to the congressional panel.

“At that point, I had Josh Findlay email Mr. Chesebro politely to say, ‘This is your task,’” Morgan said in taped testimony aired by the committee at a January 6 hearing last month. “‘You are responsible for the Electoral College issues moving forward.’ And this was my way of taking that responsibility to zero,” Morgan added.

Last December, Findlay received an email from the head of the Georgia Republican Party — who himself was a fake elector — “directing one of his subordinates to contact Findlay about the alternate elector plans,” Politico reported.

Findlay’s participation in the alternate elector scheme went well beyond Election Day 2020, explaining the DOJ’s interest in his communications as it ramps up its January 6 investigation.

“Election integrity” director Findlay assumed his position at the RNC after President Biden’s inauguration, a time rife with false allegations of voter fraud repeatedly disseminated by Trump and his inner circle, as well as his other allies at all levels of government.

Last Tuesday, Findlay touted his party’s plans to “train and build the largest, most well-prepared election integrity organization in the history of the Republican Party.”

“We need to put eyes on every part of this election process,” Findlay said. He also stated that the RNC plans to “recruit and train and place volunteers to watch every aspect of every election to make sure that Democrats aren’t committing fraud, that election administrators are not abusing their position, and just to make sure that there’s no mistake in what’s happening across the board.”

Federal Probe Of Fake Electors Expanding To Multiple States

Months into its expanding campaign to bring the instigators and perpetrators of the January 6, 2021 insurrection to book, the Justice Department is finally setting its sights on the slates of sham pro-Trump electors who sought to overturn then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s victory in multiple states.

A federal grand jury in Washington has in recent weeks issued several subpoenas to individuals in Trump’s inner circle reportedly linked to the sham elector plan, including Rudy Giuliani, former President Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer; Jenna Ellis, an attorney and MAGA Republican who worked with Giuliani on efforts to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence; John Eastman, a former Trump lawyer who concocted a sinister plan to throw out Biden votes and install sham electors to help Trump; and Kenneth Chesebro, an attorney who authored memos supporting the sham electors plan.

The development underscores the degree to which the broad DOJ investigation — which has netted over 800 arrests, 600 charges, 170 guilty pleas, and more defendants than any other criminal prosecution in U.S. history — is moving beyond the actual Capitol attack to look into events that led up to that day.

According to CNN, Federal investigators have spoken to Georgia Republicans about their conversations with members of Trump’s inner circle. CNN said it spoke to a Georgian who was to serve as a fake elector but dropped out. Patrick Gartland, the would-be elector, said FBI agents had visited his home.

"They just asked who talked to me. If anyone from the Trump campaign had been in touch with me. Did Giuliani talk to me? Did Trump talk to me?" Gartland told CNN.

Gartland is one of many connected to the Georgia GOP who were chosen to serve as fake electors but backed out.

Federal investigators have reached out to others connected to the GOP in Georgia, Michigan, and other battleground states seeking to determine the level of involvement, if any, the Trump campaign had with the sham electors’ submission of false election certificates, according to CNN.

Under the Republican-orchestrated alternate electors scheme, election officials in the seven crucial states submitted lists of fake, pro-Trump electors to the Electoral College and a handful of government bodies, including the National Archives and Records Administration. The officials were seeking to overturn the presidential results in some states Biden won, in favor of Trump. The effort was unsuccessful, and Biden won all seven states.

For federal investigators, the question is whether the Trump campaign and GOP in those seven states colluded to fraudulently overthrow Biden’s Electoral College win, or persuaded fake electors with the argument hat Trump’s election fight in the courts would succeed.

Submitting false statements to a federal agency, as the pro-Trump election officials did, is a federal crime. However, no one has been charged yet in the alternate electors probe.

Representatives for Trump ignored requests for comments, as did spokespeople for Giuliani and Ellis.

Giuliani May Face Prosecution For Overseeing Fake Elector Scheme

Disgraced ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is in ‘significant trouble’ for his role in orchestrating a plot to send fake Electoral College electors to Washington, DC to steal the 2020 election for former President Donald Trump, ex-prosecutors explained to The Guardian on Monday.

Giuliani served as Trump’s pro-bono personal lawyer throughout his single term.

The scheme involved individuals who claimed to be the “real” electors from seven states that Trump lost to President-Elect Joe Biden. Their objective – which was predicated on Trump’s lie that the presidential contest was rigged against him – was to have their votes counted in lieu of the legitimate electors that were chosen by voters. Or, at the very least, the imposters sought to sow doubt about which electors were legitimate. It was a last-ditch effort to convince then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election in favor of Trump, which he did not. That, in turn, led to Trump inciting the deadly insurrection at the United States Capitol on January 6th, 2021.

Experts believe that Giuliani and those who participated are facing serious legal repercussions for attempting to subvert an American election.

“The threats to Giuliani come from multiple directions,” Michael Bromwich, a former inspector general at the Department of Justice, told The Guardian. “Evidence is growing that he was at the center of a series of schemes to change the election results – by fraud and by force. As the investigations focus more closely on the people Giuliani recruited to change the election results on January 6 and before, his criminal exposure grows as the number of witnesses against him multiplies.”

Michael Zeldin, a Harvard University Institute of Politics fellow and former federal prosecutor, said if the evidence shows that “Giuliani improperly influenced or attempted to improperly influence the election, potentially, he could be charged with state and federal crimes including: falsifying voting documents, fraud, false statements, mail/wire fraud or even conspiracy to defraud the United States.”

Others noted that Giuliani’s proximity to Trump put him in a uniquely influential position that tied him to multiple efforts to thwart democracy.

“Giuliani was the cog of Trump’s flywheel to overturn the election, getting other Trump allies to act and leaving his imprint for investigators to find,” said former federal prosecutor Dennis Aftergut. “He’s reportedly key in the bogus slate scheme. That’s dangerous for Giuliani, because forgeries disprove innocent intent. In a conspiracy, which DOJ could charge as to the fake electors, a conviction doesn’t require that he solicited, or even knew about the forgeries, but only that he participated in a conspiratorial plot involving fake electors to help overturn the election.”

Giuliani is also facing a possible subpoena from the House Select Committee investigating the attack on the Capitol if he refuses to cooperate.

“Giuliani’s information about various schemes that Trump promoted to block Biden’s win could potentially be very helpful to the House inquiry,” Zeldin said. “If Rudy provides significant cooperation (which is unlikely) he could help the panel unravel some of the major ways that Trump tried to thwart Biden’s election victory including, most significantly, whether there was any coordination or pre-planning between Trump and those who stormed the US Capitol.”

Lawmakers on the bipartisan congressional panel maintain that Giuliani’s testimony is critical to their probe and that they “fully expect that, in accordance with the law, we’ll hear from Rudy,” Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, one of only two Republicans serving on the Committee, said on CBS’s Face the Nation earlier this month.

Michael Moore, a former United States attorney from Georgia, said that Giuliani’s plan failed in part because of how haphazardly and amateurishly the entire tactic was assembled.

“For Giuliani and his crew to have legal trouble, you don’t have to get much more into the facts than to understand that he was orchestrating fake slates of electors, based on fake reports of fraud, using faked documents, to fake the outcome of the election, and then submitting those fake documents to government officials,” said Moore.

“That is a conspiracy that a kindergartener could unravel,” he added. “The submission of the pro-Trump fake elector certificates to the National Archives was about as smart as taking the note that you used to rob the bank to the frame shop.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Committee Issues Fresh Subpoenas To Fake Trump Electors

The House Select Committee on January 6 is pulling more “alternate electors” for former President Donald Trump into focus, this time issuing six subpoenas to a group that includes Trump campaign officials as well as state lawmakers—some of whom are currently running for powerful statewide offices.

The probe reviewing the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has demanded records and depositions by the first week of March in subpoenas going to state Republican legislators and Trump campaign aides who were involved in alleged efforts to send the bogus certificates to Washington.

The subpoenas went to Arizona Republican Party chairwoman Kelli Ward, a longtime Trump supporter, as well as Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, now running for governor there, and Arizona State House Rep. Mark Finchem, now running to be the next secretary of state in Arizona. Former Michigan Republican Party chair Laura Cox was subpoenaed too, along with Michael Roman, Trump’s director of election operations in 2020, and his deputy, Gary Michael Brown.

Committee Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) wrote Tuesday that investigators had obtained correspondence and other “credible evidence” showing Trump campaign aides Brown and Roman “encouraged state legislators to alter the outcome of the 2020 election.”

The committee contends they helped appoint the so-called alternate slates for Trump in key battleground states by “directing Trump campaign staffers” to participate in the scheme.

Pro-Trump electors were not officially recognized by their respective states, but this did not deter them from affixing their signatures to the certificates anyway and remitting them to the National Archives just like the sanctioned electors for 2020 did that December.

Ultimately, the Archives rejected the alternate slates.

Exploring the gambit behind the bogus elector submissions in places like Arizona and Pennsylvania has led investigators to some of the former president’s most ardent supporters in high places.

Much of this scheme was reportedly spearheaded by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. He was subpoenaed by the select committee as well but as of Wednesday, he had openly dismissed the probe as illegitimate and overblown.

In the meantime, the committee continues zeroing in on the bunk electors, and Tuesday’s tranche expanded those efforts.

In a subpoena to Mastriano, investigators asked him to produce information about his conversations with Trump around “post election activities” and for him to testify about a plan to arrange an alternate slate in Pennsylvania.

Mastriano, who is now running for governor, should explain to the probe why he believed the assertions of voter fraud, Thompson wrote, or why he supported theories about other irregularities.

The committee also wants to know more about how Mastriano arrived at his conclusions, like this one from November 2020:

Mastriano was at the Capitol on January 6 and has said publicly that he witnessed “agitators … start pushing the police up the steps” of the complex.

He was also seen in photos on January 6 posing with former Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone, who took to social media to celebrate the storming of the Capitol.

Mastriano has denied having any illegal involvement in January 6, saying last May that he followed the directions of all police he encountered.

“Even disingenuous internet sleuths know that police lines did shift throughout the course of the day. I followed those lines as they existed,” Mastriano said.

Campaign finance records have also shown that Mastriano’s campaign spent thousands to send buses to D.C. on January 6. PBS reported last January that the state senator’s campaign paid $3,354 to Wolf Bus Lines over three installments six days before the attack.

Investigators are interested to speak with Finchem about his role in coordinating a Phoenix-based event with members of Trump’s legal team on November. 30, 2020.

The group met to discuss unproven allegations of voter fraud and Finchem, in particular, was heard saying during a break in the meeting that the voter systems had been hacked.

Like Mastriano, Finchem was in Washington on January 6. Finchem, however, said he was there to give an “evidence book and letter” to then-Vice President Mike Pence that he believed would confirm evidence of fraud in Arizona.

Finchem, investigators say, meant to ask Pence to delay the certification, making him yet another person who called on Trump’s second in command to consider subverting the election results.

Ward, currently suing the committee to stop them from reviewing her phone metadata, has valuable information as chair of the Arizona Republican Party, investigators said Tuesday,

Ward spoke to Trump multiple times about election certification and played a hugely public role in disseminating Trump’s election fraud falsehoods.

Just one day after the election, the committee noted in its subpoena, Ward sent text messages to then-Maricopa County Board Chairman Clint Hickman.

Hickman told reporters Trump called him twice in four days after he lost to Biden.

The Arizona official said he was aware when Trump called that the president had made other pressure calls to state election officials in Georgia.

Ward also sent several texts to Hickman a few days after Trump lost, The Arizona Republic first reported.

“We need you to stop the counting,” she wrote.

Other texts after the election “bombarded” Hickman’s phone. One message on Nov. 17 from Ward reportedly read: “Here is Sidney Powell’s number. Please call her.”

Three days later, Ward texted the state election official again.

“I know you don’t want to be remembered as the guy who led the charge to certify a fraudulent election,” she wrote.

A voicemail Ward left was more explicit about her contact with Trump.

“Hey, Clint. It's Kelli Ward. I just talked to President Trump and he would like me to talk to you and also see if he needs to give you a call to discuss what's happening on the ground in Maricopa. Give me a call back when you can,” she said.

Ward did not immediately return a request for comment on Wednesday.

Lastly, the committee seeks information from former Michigan Republican Party chairwoman Laura Cox.

Cox hosted a Zoom and Facebook Live event on December 2, 2020, where Giuliani was featured and told guests they had to “stand up for a free and fair election.”

In a statement Wednesday, Cox lashed out at the committee, saying that the probe’s senior investigative counsel called her in October and that she met with them without an attorney.

The meeting, Cox said, was not recorded because the senior counsel and those accompanying him were taking notes and when she asked to record, they refused.

“They then left the office,“ Cox said Wednesday.

Cox bristled at the subpoena, saying her concerns over voter irregularities stemmed from her own experience as chair of the Michigan GOP.

“I did not need President Trump or the Trump campaign to push me to question ballot irregularities in Michigan … my guy lost. President Biden won. But that does not make raising questions about irregularities a crime,” she said.

A January 6 committee spokesperson declined to comment on Cox’s statement Wednesday.

More than 550 interviews have been conducted by investigators and more than 80 subpoenas have been issued openly. That excludes an altogether separate raft of subpoenas that were issued to telecommunications companies and banks for metadata and financial records.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Fake Trump Elector Tries To Defend Forged Document

When the Electoral College met in 2020 to certify votes in that year’s presidential election, Jim Lamon—now running for an Arizona seat in the U.S. Senate—signed his name to a document declaring himself an elector for President Donald Trump. But Lamon was not an official elector, and those documents were false. Now the political hopeful is on the defensive.

In an interview Sunday with Arizona’s KTVK-TV, Lamon defended the illegitimate record, saying that “Republican electors put forth a valid document” and that their certification as Republican electors was expressly made so that if the election certification were overturned, “there would be no excuse not to recognize those electors.”

But the problem with Lamon’s defense is that the document he and 10 other pro-Trump Arizona Republicans signed on December14, 2020—and then remitted to the U.S. Senate and National Archives as valid—is that there’s no language anywhere in it stating the record was merely a contingency or placeholder.

It was passed off as a legitimate representation of authentic electors despite the fact that election officials in Arizona and six other states had already submitted their official list of electors who voted for Biden. The bogus certifications stated Trump won. He did not.

The January 6 committee has made unsnarling this scheme a key element in its probe of the deadly Capitol attack.

Last March, public watchdog American Oversight obtained the bunk electoral certifications from Arizona, Michigan, Georgia, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Only two states wrote in contingencies.

Arizona did not.

Lamon told KTVK-TV this weekend the record he signed was “very straightforward” and “very simple,” according to AZ Central.

Technically, those would be apt descriptors since the document plainly—but only—describes the signees as “duly elected and qualified electors from Arizona.”

“This is a lot to do about not much,” Lamon said, brushing off suggestions of fraud.

The conduct from the “alternate electors” has also garnered scrutiny by the January 6 House Select Committee, because the committee contends the phony slates were part and parcel of a larger coordinated effort to keep Trump in power well after his defeat by Biden.

“The existence of these purported alternate-elector votes was used as a justification to delay or block the certification of the election during the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” Thompson said as he unleashed a bevy of subpoenas last week.

In his Sunday interview, Lamon said he believed the records he signed would have only gone into effect after a certain sequence of events unfolded; namely, after an audit of ballots in Maricopa County was ordered and after the official election results were overturned.

Biden won Maricopa County. The official results, as well as a hand-recount, confirmed Biden’s vote exceeded Trump’s in Arizona by more than 45,000 ballots.

Lamon said questions over the records were a distraction from “real issues” like immigration, a cornerstone of his campaign platform. Lamon has received endorsements from the National Border Patrol Council, as well as the Conservative Political Action Coalition. Ric Grenell, Trump’s onetime acting director of national intelligence, has also endorsed Lamon’s run for the U.S. Senate seat.

Lamon did not immediately respond to request for comment Monday.

In an interview with The New York Times last week, Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat and member of the select committee, said the “alternate electors” left no doubt that they were “engaged in a constitutional fraud on the public and on democracy.”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has asked federal prosecutors to review information her office has massed about the fake pro-Trump certificates issued out of Michigan. Others have followed suit, including New Mexico’s Attorney General Hector Balderas. And according to the Associated Press, a complaint lodged in Wisconsin with the Wisconsin Elections Commission and the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office about the fake slates is also receiving renewed attention.

Lamon was not specifically summoned by the select committee, but the chairperson and secretary for the Arizona Republican Party, Nancy Cottle and Loraine Pellegrino respectively, were subpoenaed.

Pellegrino has publicly defended the paperwork before, saying last January in an interview with The Arizona Republic that they signed the paperwork “to be ready in the event that something was overturned.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

House Select Committee Subpoenas 14 Republicans Who Signed Fake Electoral Certificates

Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) Friday afternoon announced the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack has issued subpoenas to 14 Republicans from seven states who submitted the forged and "bogus" Electoral College certificates falsely claiming Donald Trump and not Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election in their states.

The Chairman appeared to suggest the existence of a conspiracy as well, noting the "the planning and coordination of efforts," saying "these so-called alternate electors met," and may know "who was behind that scheme."

He adds that "groups of individuals met on December 14th, 2020 in seven states carried by President Biden."

"The so-called alternate electors from those states then transmitted the purported Electoral-College certificates to Congress, which multiple people advising former President Trump or his campaign used to justify delaying or blocking the certification of the election during the Joint Session of Congress on January 6th, 2021."

Some legal experts have said their actions may constitute a felony.

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet