DOJ investigating false pro-Trump electoral slates
Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com.NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
The Justice Department is investigating allegations of phony Electoral College certifications from 2020 that declared Republicans were the electors voting for Donald Trump and Mike Pence when in fact Democrats had won and voted for President Biden and Vice President Harris, Fox News has confirmed.
Originally reported by CNN, the investigation is exploring documents that gained attention due to the House January 6 Committee’s probe.
"We've received those referrals. Our prosecutors are looking at those, and I can't say anything more on ongoing investigations," Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco told CNN.
Details of the DOJ investigation remain unknown, with Monaco only adding that the DOJ was "going to follow the facts and the law, wherever they lead, to address conduct of any kind and at any level that is part of an assault on our democracy."
Multiple reports have pointed to allegedly fake documents obtained by watchdog group American Oversight, which included paperwork from slates of Republican would-be electors in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada, Georgia, New Mexico and Arizona.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally, Jan. 15, 2022, in Florence, Arizona. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
American Oversight’s website calls the documents "fake electoral certificates" for "bogus slates of pro-Trump electors." Republicans from each of the states had made clear that their intentions were to have electors in line in the event that legal challenges to the election results bore fruit.
The Pennsylvania certificate states that the Republican slate gathered and voted "on the understanding that if, as a result of a final non-appealable Court Order or other proceeding prescribed by law, we are ultimately recognized as being the duly elected and qualified Electors[.]"
In a press release, the Pennsylvania GOP said Republicans were acting in conjunction with the Trump campaign.
"At the request of the Trump campaign, the Republican presidential electors met today in Harrisburg to cast a conditional vote for Donald Trump and Mike Pence for President and Vice President respectively," Trump campaign Pennsylvania chair Bernie Comfort said in a Dec. 14, 2020, statement. Comfort said it was a "procedural vote to preserve any legal claims that may be presented going forward" and "in no way an effort to usurp or contest the will of the Pennsylvania voters."
Similarly, in Wisconsin, the state GOP’s chair Andrew Hitt said at the time that Republican electors met "in accordance with statutory guidelines to preserve our role in the electoral process with the final outcome still pending in the courts." The Georgia Republican Party said at the time that they were having a Republican slate because "the contest of the election is ongoing."
Republican parties in New Mexico and Arizona both cited the 1960 election, in which Hawaii’s electors were certified for Republican Richard Nixon, only for a total of the votes later indicating that President John F. Kennedy won the state.
"Of course, there is precedent for our Republican electors meeting on December 14, even as the Democrat electors for Arizona also meet elsewhere," the Arizona GOP said in a December 2020 press release, noting how Democratic electors met in 1960 at the same time Republican electors did the same. "In the end, Hawaii’s electoral votes were awarded to President Kennedy, even though he did not win the state until 11 days after his electors cast their votes."
The New Mexico GOP said in December 2020 that "just as the Democrat Electors met in Hawaii in 1960 while awaiting a final resolution of that State’s vote, so too the Republican Electors met this year on December 14 as we await a final resolution of New Mexico’s five electoral votes."
In Georgia, Republicans also said they had their own electors as "the contest of the election is ongoing." In Nevada, Republicans said they provided their own slate in the event Congress had the opportunity to decide the election.
In Michigan, there was local reporting on Republican electors attempting to meet at the state Capitol to hold their own vote. Attorney Ian Northon, who was reportedly with Republican state lawmakers who tried to get the electors inside, said the GOP sent papers to Congress "in case the state Legislature decides to replace Democratic electors."
Aside from the Republican efforts that they claimed at the time were part of their legal challenges, one separate group in Arizona has been accused of possible wrongdoing.
As reported earlier this month by Politico, a group identifying as The Sovereign Citizens of the Great State of Arizona filed paperwork bearing the Arizona state seal with a list of electors voting for Trump and Pence.
Arizona Secretary of State Katy Hobbs then sent a letter to the group's leader, Lori Osiecki, calling on them to "immediately cease the unauthorized use of Arizona's State Seal" and informing them that the matter was being referred to the state attorney general for investigation.