Cutting at the core of former President Donald Trump’s attempt to subvert the 2020 election, the Jan. 6 committee unleashed a tranche of subpoenas on Friday targeting 14 individuals who once submitted false slates of electors in support of the outgoing president.
Those subpoenaed Friday included electors representing the seven states Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin and according to a statement from committee chairman Bennie Thompson, the panel believes each person subpoenaed has information about who was behind or operating the “so-called alternate elector...scheme.”
”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 Jan. 6, 2021,” Thompson said Friday.
Those subpoenaed include Nancy Cottle, Loraine Pellegrino, David Shafer, Shawn Still, Kathy Berden, Mayra Rodriguez, Jewll Powdrell, Deborah Maestas, Michael McDonald, James DeGraffenreid, Bill Bachenberg, Andrew Hitt, Kelly Ruh, and Lisa Patton.
Shafer currently serves as chair of the Georgia Republican Party while others like Berden and McDonald are the chairs of the Michigan and Nevada Republican Party, respectively.
All have been asked to comply with the records and deposition request before the end of February.
The phony electors met on Dec. 14, 2021, the same day that the Electoral College met to officially ratify President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump, 306-232. It was the exact same margin that Trump once had when he won the White House in 2016.
As the so-called “alternate electors” convened their meetings, they elected chairpersons, appointed secretaries, and conducted their business in the open, drawing considerable attention with Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s attorney, often at the fore.
The committee issued a subpoena to Giuliani last week, alleging that he oversaw the bogus elector scheme in several states. Investigators are particularly interested in how the individuals came to the conclusion that they could proclaim themselves as “duly elected” or “duly qualified” in their state when genuine or constitutional electors were already in place.
For Trump’s campaign, the rival slates were a key component to the subversion of the 2020 election because if they went to the National Archives, then Trump would be ready to act in court. By the time the bogus electors had met, Trump had already lost several lawsuits claiming election fraud in 2020. Nevertheless, the former president, according to the Jan. 6 committee, appeared to believe that with the alternate electors in place, then-Vice President Mike Pence could throw out Biden’s electors and replace them with Trump’s.
In fact, Pence did not have that constitutional authority. His role as vice president on Jan. 6 was only to open and count the votes, not to determine their validity.
Though the National Archives ultimately did receive several bogus slates from Trump’s “alternate electors,” they did not end up sending them to be certified because the Electoral Count Act forbade it. Only true, certified electors, or those certified by the state, can be approved for transmission.
So much of the bunk elector plot unfolded in the open and became the centerpiece for much of the Trump campaign’s last-ditch efforts to turn their loss into a victory. It had support from lawmakers like Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, and Jim Jordan of Ohio, just to name a few. Both Jordan and Perry have been subpoenaed by the committee already and both have refused to comply.
Importantly, during its tug-of-war with Trump’s former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, the committee has since disclosed that it obtained a series of text messages. One of those messages involved a discussion with a lawmaker about appointing alternate electors in states Trump was losing. Meadows said he “loved it.”
Published with permission from Daily Kos.