By Zachary Cohen and Marshall Cohen | CNN
In the weeks after the 2020 election, then-President Donald Trump’s allies sent fake certificates to the National Archives declaring that Trump won seven states that he actually lost. The documents had no impact on the outcome of the election, but they are yet another example of how Team Trump tried to subvert the Electoral College — a key line of inquiry for the January 6 committee.
The fake certificates were created by Trump allies in Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada and New Mexico, who sought to replace valid presidential electors 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 rightful electors from seven states that President Joe Biden won. But these rogue slates of electors didn’t have the backing of any elected officials in the seven states — like a governor or secretary of state, who are involved in certifying election results — and they served no legitimate purpose.
The documents were first posted online in March by the government watchdog group. But they received renewed attention this week, as the January 6 committee ramps up its investigation into Trump’s attempted coup, including how his allies tried to stop states from certifying Biden’s victory, in part, by installing friendly slates of electors who would overturn the will of the voters.
Politico and MSNBC were first to report on the documents this week.
Rogue slates of electors
As part of the Electoral College process, governors are required to sign a formal “certificate of ascertainment,” verifying that the statewide winner’s slate of electors are the legitimate electors. These electors then sign a second certificate, formally affirming their votes for president.
These documents are sent to the National Archives in Washington, DC, which processes them before they are sent onto Congress, which formally counts the electoral votes on January 6.
The real certificates, which have been posted to the National Archives website, correctly stated that Biden won the seven battleground states. They also list the legitimate group of electors from each state, rather than the rogue pro-Trump slate included on the unofficial documents.
Some of the fake certificates with pro-Trump electors were sent to the National Archives by top officials representing the Republican Party in each state, according to the documents.
They sent these fake certificates after Trump himself failed to block governors from signing the real certificates. Specifically, Trump encouraged Republican governors in states like Georgia and Arizona not to certify the election results, and falsely claimed the elections were fraudulent. But these GOP officials ignored Trump, followed the law, and awarded the electors to Biden.
Installing slates of “alternate electors” was an integral part of the ill-fated plan conceived by Trump allies to usurp power on January 6 by pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to throw out the pro-Biden electors that had been chosen by voters. The idea was promoted by Trump advisers inside and outside the White House, including controversial right-wing lawyer John Eastman.
Eastman, who …read more
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