Donald Trump acolyte and former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani coordinated the filing of forged election certificates by slates of fake Republican electors in five states for the 2020 presidential race, The Washington Post and CNN reported Thursday.
Now Democrats are investigating if crimes were committed as part of the operation and how closely Trump may have been involved in the plot. Trump had openly encouraged an “alternate electors” scheme after he went down to defeat in the 2020 election.
Officials in some of the states have referred information about the operation to federal prosecutors.
The Republican electors declared themselves “duly elected and qualified,” and sent signed certificates to Washington claiming to affirm Trump as the winner in five states he had actually lost — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin, the Post noted. All the states had legitimate Democratic electors for Joe Biden, reflecting residents’ votes.
Some Republican electors were so uncomfortable with the Giuliani scheme that they refused to take part in it, the Post discovered.
Fake documents were also filed from Pennsylvania and New Mexico, but the GOP counterfeits were referred to as “electors in waiting” in case court challenges to Biden’s win were successful. But the certificates from the other five states falsely claimed that the pro-Trump electors were the rightful electors.
Former Trump campaign officials and GOP leaders told the Post that Giuliani oversaw the operation and that campaign officials were also involved. Sources told the newspaper and CNN that Giuliani was helped by a correspondent from right-wing One America News Network.
Giuliani boasted publicly at the time that the fake slates were needed because of his and other Trump supporters’ baseless claims of election fraud.
Trump allies began discussing floating slates of alternate electors shortly after Trump lost the presidential election, the Post reported. One text to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows talked of the plan, even though it was described as “highly controversial,” according to communications obtained by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol led by Trump supporters.
“I love it,” Meadows responded, noting later: “We have a team on it.”
The fake slates were later intended to provide then-Vice President Mike Pence with a stable of ready electors to replace those legitimately representing the will of the American people.
Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel last week called the operation an “open-and-shut case of forgery of a public record.” She asked federal prosecutors to investigate the 16 Republicans who submitted false certificates stating they were the state’s presidential electors
“This is not political theater. It’s not protected speech,” Nessel said. “It’s an attack on the very fabric of our system of government.”
'Part of a much larger conspiracy': Investigation into 16 Michigan Republicans activists who may have violated both state and federal election laws. https://t.co/1UpwOZFAwD
— Dana Nessel (@dananessel) January 17, 2022
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas (D) also referred the matter to federal prosecutors. Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) said the federal government should investigate any unlawful act that promoted “seditious conspiracy.”
Trump campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn told the Post that the operation was acceptable given the “rampant fraud” of the election.
There was no rampant fraud. The vote was confirmed by numerous recounts and court cases. By the time Congress met to certify the electoral vote count, the Post noted, efforts to overturn Biden’s victory had been rejected by at least 86 judges.
Giuliani could not immediately be reached for comment.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.