A coterie of Trump campaign officials, all led by ex-Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, coordinated a failed scheme to install partisan and illegitimate electors in seven different states that Donald Trump lost in the 2020 election.
Sources told CNN and The Washington Post that in December of 2020 Giuliani arranged gatherings with these electors in statehouses across Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin – all of which, Trump has baselessly claimed, were the sites of outcome-altering voter fraud.
Giuliani reportedly oversaw the "nuts-and-bolts" aspects of the operation, which involved arranging calls between potential electors and GOP operatives; reserving rooms in statehouses for elector meetings, and distributing forged certificates that were sent to the National
Archives. At times, the Post reported, Giuliani was assisted by Christina Bobb, an anchor on the right-wing network One America News.
"It was Rudy and these misfit characters who started calling the shots," a former Trump campaign staffer told CNN. "The campaign was throwing enough sh*t at the wall to see what would stick."
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These slates of rival electors were key to Trump's broader coup on Capitol Hill, not public knowledge at the time, that involved persuading former Vice President Mike Pence to throw out electoral votes he deemed illegitimate, thereby giving the final say to the then-GOP-controlled House of Representatives. Pence broke ranks in the end, citing that his role in the ballot-counting ceremony was merely symbolic.
According to Post, several electors selected by Trump's inner circle bowed out of the plan before it was initiated.
"It seemed like political gamesmanship, and that's not something I would have participated in," John Isakson, a Trump-backed elector and former U.S. senator from Georgia, told the Post. "We have a process for certifying the election. We have a process for challenging the election. The challenges failed, so I wouldn't have participated in something that was going against all of that."
Additionally, some of the bogus certificates sent to the National Archives had legal caveats made at the behest of certain electors, who ensured that certificates listed that as "electors-in-waiting," according to CNN. Other certifications unconditionally declared the electors "duly elected and qualified."
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told MSNBC last week that the scheme could warrant decades of jail time. "Under state law," Nessel said in an interview. "I think clearly you have forgery of a public record, which is a 14-year offense, and election law forgery, which is a five-year offense."