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US prosecutors investigate Republicans who sent bogus Trump electors to Congress | united states news

Federal prosecutors have launched an investigation into the attempt by Republicans in seven presidential battleground states won by Joe Biden in 2020 to subvert the election result by sending false lists of Donald Trump’s electors to Congress.

The ploy was one of the central tactics used by Trump loyalists as part of the “big lie” that he had defeated his Democratic rival. The fake voter lists were sent to congressional leaders, who were then pressured to delay certifying Biden’s victory on January 6, 2021, the day of the Capitol insurrection.

In an interview in CNNDeputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco revealed that the Justice Department has launched an investigation into what she called “fraudulent voter certifications.” She said the department had received referrals on the matter and “our prosecutors are looking into them.”

Monaco added: “We will follow the facts and the law wherever they lead us to address conduct of any kind and at any level that is part of an attack on our democracy.”

Fake lists of Trump voters were sent to Congress from seven states that Biden actually won: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Of those, two — New Mexico and Pennsylvania — added the caveat that Trump’s electors should only be counted in the event of a contested election.

The other five states sent signed statements to Washington giving the appearance that Trump had won even though clear and verified counts put Biden on top.

Under America’s arcane system of presidential elections, American presidents are chosen not directly by voters, but indirectly through electoral college votes spread state by state. Official certificates naming the electors of the winning candidate in each state are then sent to Washington for certification, in this case on January 6, when hundreds of violent Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to disrupt the process.

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Earlier this month, the pro-democracy group American supervision obtained under the freedom of information laws the false certificates of the seven states in which the republicans tried to annul the result of the elections. The certificate from Georgia, one of the most contested states in 2020, reads: “We, the undersigned, being the duly elected and qualified electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America of the State of Georgia…”

The false statement then bears the names and signatures of 16 bogus electors who falsely claimed to have cast their electoral college votes for Trump when in fact they had no legal capacity to do so. The move was in direct contravention of the royal vote in Georgia, confirmed in multiple counts, that Biden won by 11,779 votes.

Democratic attorneys general in at least two of the seven states, New Mexico and Michigan, have now asked federal prosecutors to examine whether drawing up the false certificates constitutes a crime. His references appear to have triggered the Justice Department investigation.

The fact that the Republicans have left a paper trail by sending their bogus certificates to both Congress and the National Archives suggests that they may now face legal jeopardy. The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection also recently began to focus on Trump’s bogus constituents, and in particular those who organized the plot.

One figure of particular interest is Rudy Giuliani, who acted as a lawyer for the Trump campaign and who has been reported have spearheaded the strategy of the false voter. The Jan. 6 committee sent Giuliani a subpoena letter earlier this month referring specifically to his efforts to instigate the scheme.

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Another area of ​​great interest is the draft letter prepared in December 2020 by Jeffrey Clark, a relatively lowly justice department official, who tried to persuade Georgia and six other states won by Biden to withdraw their constituents from Congress and consider replacing them with Trump constituents. The letter was never officially sent after Acting US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen refused to participate.

The fake voter tactic was also central to the electoral subversion strategy presented to Trump by conservative lawyer John Eastman. In a now notorious two page memorandum delivered to Trump and then Vice President Mike Pence in the Oval Office, Eastman argued that Pence could block the certification of Biden’s victory on January 6.

Pence had the constitutional function of presiding over the joint session of Congress that would certify the results of the elections, a process that is generally considered purely ceremonial. But Eastman advised him that when he opened the Arizona Electoral College ballot, he should announce that he “has multiple lists of voters, so he will defer a decision on it.”

By “multiple lists,” Eastman was referring to the official list of voters returned by Arizona in favor of Biden, who won the state by 10,457 votes and the fake list of Trump voters that is now under federal investigation.

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