Donald Trump and millions of his supporters believe that the 2020 election was illegitimate. This much has been known since before the January 6th Capitol riot.
What wasn’t known was the extent to which Trump and his aides would go to overturn that election.
The January 6th committee has been looking into the curious effort — apparently coordinated by some members of the Trump campaign — to submit false electoral certificates to the National Archives in an effort to set up an alternative slate of electors in five states — Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia. The problem was that those states had certified that Joe Biden was the winner.
It’s unknown what the exact plan was, but apparently, the fake electors scam was part of a larger effort to overturn the election.
Trump’s inner circle — including Rudy Guiliani who was coordinating the effort — was trying to get Republican officials in those states to challenge the Biden electors. An alternative would be getting Vice President Mike Pence to recognize the fake electors as authentic or refuse to certify Biden’s victory and throw the election into the House of Representatives.
It was a mad plan. Actually, it was a stupid plan. What chance did they have of overturning the election? About as much chance that the rioters had in overthrowing the government.
The false-electors push was well-known at the time, but it’s drawn fresh scrutiny amid indications that the select committee has received documents from multiple states shedding new light on the efforts. Michigan’s top prosecutor, Attorney General Dana Nessel, recently suggested she’s been investigating the submission of illegitimate GOP electors for a year.
“This is a crime. This is election fraud,” Nessel told reporters recently. “And it’s many other crimes, as well; both, I believe, at the state and federal level.”
Like Nessel, some members of the Jan. 6 select committee say the signed documents could have broken the law.
“I would hope that the full extent of the law was used to prosecute anyone trying to falsify any documents, including those,” said Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.), another Jan. 6 panel member, who underscored that she is not sure of the status of any state-level investigations into the matter.
The only thing that should concern the January 6th committee is whether a crime was committed by the fake electors. Otherwise, the committee would simply be trying to embarrass Trump and his aides because of their stupidity in thinking such a scheme could ever succeed.
In short, the individuals who signed the documents certifying that they were the “duly elected and qualified” electors from their states were not. Their certificates were fraudulent, full stop. No doubt or ambiguity about it.
The fraudulent scheme did not end with the signatures of the phony electors. Far from it. In each of the five states, the would-be electors transmitted the phony certificates to federal officials as their state’s “electoral votes for President and Vice President.” Again, false.
It is astonishing that more than a year after the certification of the 2020 presidential election, public attention has only now begun to focus intensely on these phony GOP state certifications.
Trump was putting enormous pressure on his aides, on the electors, on governors, and most definitely on his vice president to do anything and everything to invalidate Joe Biden’s victory. He went to court on several occasions asking federal judges to assist his desperate efforts to invalidate Joe Biden’s victory.
Legal efforts made by Trump and his team to reverse the 2020 election results are above reproach and well within the law. Other moves taken by Team Trump were jaw-droppingly stupid. Of course, the Democrats appear to be disinclined to recognize any difference between what was perfectly legal and what was of questionable legality. That’s what makes the January 6th committee such a farce and a monumental disservice to the American people and the Constitution.