In trying to install himself in the White House for another term against the will of the American people, former President Donald Trump and his allies employed a varying array of tactics.
They riled up their base through a constant onslaught of disinformation in bumbling press conferences and sham hearings. They applied pressure to local election officials including Georgia's Republican Secretary of State. As the January 6 joint congressional session nationally certifying Biden's victory loomed closer, a new effort emerged, and it would all come down to a decision by then-Vice President Mike Pence.
When a presidential candidate wins the popular vote in a state, that candidate's party appoints electors to cast the state's electoral votes, which are then typed up in a certificate of ascertainment, signed by the state's governor, and sent to the National Archives.
But amid Republican fantasies of a "stolen" election, Republicans in Wisconsin, Arizona, Michigan, and other states declared themselves electors. Trump and his allies falsely insisted that this illegitimate declaration from Republicans meant that there were dueling slates of electors. Trump lawyer John Eastman of the Claremont Institute argued in a memo on Trump's behalf that if there were dueling slates of electors, Pence had the right to toss those states' electoral votes—lowering the threshold for an electoral majority, taking crucial electoral votes from Biden, and securing a second term for Trump.
Thankfully, Pence agreed with the vast majority of legal scholars that the Vice President doesn't have the power to singlehandedly decide a national election, but Americans should still be concerned.
The folks at American Oversight found that Republicans in multiple states didn't just declare themselves electors, but actually forged electoral documents, including some with the state seal, and sent them to the National Archives, presenting them as legitimate electoral votes.
The similarity of each of these forged documents across a variety of states suggests a level of coordination. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow pointed out earlier this month that Jeffery Clark, a Trump loyalist in the Department of Justice, sent a memo including a claim that multiple states had submitted electoral votes for Trump—a claim that turned out to be true.
This prompted Maddow to ask:
"Did the Trump Justice Department know about it because they helped Republicans in those states do it? We don’t know. But somebody helped them do it, because they all filed the exact same document in the same font, in the same spacing, with the exact same language. So, somebody helped them do it."
Now, leaked audio obtained by CNN of the Michigan Republican Party's co-chair—Meshawn Maddock—may lead the country closer to an answer.
Maddock says in the video:
"We fought to seat the electors. Um, the Trump campaign asked us to do that -- under a lot of scrutiny for that today."
Maddock made the comments at a public gathering for the conservative Stand Up Michigan. The CNN article goes on to describe two additional sources claiming that Trump's team was responsible for directly choreographing the illegitimate elector plot.
A former Trump campaign staffer told the outlet:
"It was [Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani] and these misfit characters who started calling the shots. The campaign was throwing enough sh*t at the wall to see what would stick."
These revelations, for some, present a turning point in the Trump campaign's culpability for the effort to steal the election—and maybe even the deadly failed insurrection that emerged from it.
This was a nationally coordinated, strategic, and serious attempt to nullify the votes of 5.5 million Michigan citizens.
Now there must be consequences and justice.
If not, these attempts will multiply and increase in sophistication in the years ahead.https://t.co/RTjmnkENRb
— Jocelyn Benson (@JocelynBenson) January 20, 2022
Sounds like a conspiracy to commit fraud to me… https://t.co/UHTZNeIeIs
— Paul Keller (@PK_1967) January 21, 2022
Just because it was an unimaginably huge crime in plain sight, that doesn't make it not a crime. https://t.co/tAKp11R2Zb
— RoseThornne EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL (@rosethornne) January 21, 2022
WTF is wrong with those people? And their followers??? You wanna know what “white privilege” is??? Here you go. Let any of us pull this and we’ll be UNDER the jail!!!! https://t.co/sGTR8wzpGe
— BlazingAries (@BlazingAries) January 21, 2022
Sounds an awful lot like conspiracy to me 🤔 https://t.co/GXBn1kSgSi
— Crazy Eddie (@Crazee_Eddie) January 21, 2022
They definitely want to see Giuliani answer for what was happening.
Yeah it was #RudyGiuliani No surprise. It was dumb as HELL. #FAKEELECTORS https://t.co/lZLvgPy5gG
— Vivian (@VivianActivist) January 21, 2022
I won’t be sad if Rudy goes to prison I would be sad if he’s the only one however https://t.co/nmO2I1kyuC
— Sharon Dennis (@sddphoto) January 21, 2022
Rudy will end up in prison despite his best efforts. 😂 https://t.co/3hxz5Yrx0F
— Be Safe and Stay Vigilant (@Notagainever) January 21, 2022
More revelations regarding the effort will likely emerge.