Trump Allies Created Fake Electoral College Certificates

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By Zachary Cohen and Marshall Cohen | CNN

In the weeks following the 2020 election, then-President Donald Trump’s allies sent false certificates to the National Archives stating that Trump had won seven states that he had actually lost. The documents had no bearing on the election results, but they are yet another example of Team Trump’s attempt to undermine the electoral college — a key line of inquiry for the Jan. 6 committee.

The fake certificates were created by Trump allies in Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada and New Mexico, who attempted to replace valid presidential elections from their states with a pro-Trump slate, according to documents obtained by American Oversight.

The documents contain the signatures of Trump supporters who claimed to be the legitimate voters from seven states that President Joe Biden won. But these rogue voters did not have the support of elected officials in the seven states — such as a governor or secretary of state, who are involved in certifying election results — and they served no legitimate purpose.

The documents were first put online in March by the government watchdog group. But they received renewed attention this week as the Jan. 6 commission ramps up its investigation into Trump’s coup attempt, including how his allies tried to prevent states from certifying Biden’s victory, in part by installing friendly voter lists that support the will of the voters.

Politico and MSNBC were the first to report on the documents this week.

Voter rogue lists

As part of the Electoral College process, governors are required to sign a formal “certificate of determination,” verifying that the electoral roll of winners statewide are the legitimate voters. These voters then sign a second certificate, formally confirming their vote for the presidency.

These documents will be sent to the National Archives in Washington, DC, where they will be processed before being sent to Congress, which will formally count the electoral votes on Jan. 6.

The real certificates, posted on the National Archives website, correctly stated that Biden won the seven battlefield states. They also list the legitimate group of voters from each state, rather than the rogue pro-Trump list that appears on the unofficial documents.

Some false certificates featuring pro-Trump voters were sent to the National Archives by top officials representing the Republican Party in every state, according to the documents.

They sent these fake certificates after Trump himself did not block the governors from signing the real certificates. In particular, Trump encouraged Republican governors in states like Georgia and Arizona not to certify the election results, falsely claiming the elections were fraudulent. But these GOP officials ignored Trump, followed the law and awarded the voters to Biden.

Installing slates of “alternative voters” was integral to the ill-fated plan devised by Trump allies to take power on Jan. 6 by pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to support pro-Biden voters. that had been elected by the voters. The idea was promoted by Trump advisers inside and outside the White House, including controversial right-wing attorney John Eastman.

Eastman, who was subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 commission, wrote a memo outlining a six-step plan for Pence to reverse the election and grant Trump a second term. The plan involved throwing out results from seven states for allegedly having competing voters.

In reality, no state had two sets of competing voters. The pro-Trump voters merely claimed to be voters without any authority, as documented in the fake certificates sent to the National Archives. The certificates were essentially an elaborate public relations stunt.

The new documents were not the only false certificates sent to the National Archives. Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, told CNN’s Don Lemon that a second group called the “Sovereign Citizens of the State of Arizona” sent a deceptive document to the National Archives in 2020, and she said they had the seal of the state of Arizona had used incorrectly. on their fake certificate.

“They used this fake stamp to make it look official, which is not a legal activity,” Hobbs said.

Main focus for the January 6 panel

The fake certificates and accompanying emails also obtained by American Oversight were sent in mid-December 2020 as Team Trump aggressively made false claims about widespread voter fraud in an effort to undo the election. Weeks later, pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent attempt to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s victory.

Their press campaign against election officials in many of these battlefield states is now a key area of ​​focus for the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

An entire team of researchers, known as the “golden team,” is dedicated to unpacking that print campaign. The panel has spoken with numerous election officials from states where Trump falsely claimed there was evidence of fraud, and in some cases traveled to those states.

Any testimony and information the committee has gathered from these election officials about the press campaign will surface during the first set of hearings, possibly in prime-time hours, that will debunk the “big lie” that the election was stolen. Some of the state election officials the commission interviewed privately may even appear as witnesses.

Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the Democratic chair of the committee, told CNN, “We went to Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania. We looked at 60 or so lawsuits that were filed in various federal courts and, of course, were dismissed. We have spoke to people who have held elections in areas where people say those elections are fraudulent.”

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