Speed Reads

fake it until you break it

The Justice Department is investigating pro-Trump 'fraudulent elector certifications' from states Biden won

Federal prosecutors are looking into "fraudulent elector certificates" Republicans in a handful of states sent the National Archives on Dec. 14, 2020, the day the Electoral College met to certify President Biden's victory, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco told CNN on Monday. 

The attorneys general of Michigan and New Mexico, plus a local prosecutor in Wisconsin, have asked federal prosecutors to investigate the fake slates of electors, and "we've received those referrals," Monaco said. "Our prosecutors are looking at those, and I can't say anything more on ongoing investigations." 

The effort to send slates of illegitimate electors for former President Donald Trump from seven states Biden won was reportedly spearheaded by Trump campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani, as part of a broader scheme to overturn Biden's legitimate victory. "The breadth of federal prosecutors' review was not immediately clear," The Washington Post notes. "Nor was it clear whom they might be targeting or what crimes they might be considering."

If prosecutors determine that Trump's campaign or allies "created the fake slates to improperly influence the election, they could in theory be charged with falsifying voting documents, mail fraud, or even a conspiracy to defraud the United States," The New York Times reports. "It is unclear whether the Republican Party officials and others who submitted the false documents did so on their own or at the behest of the Trump campaign."

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the House Jan. 6 committee, acknowledged that proving criminal activity could be tricky for prosecutors. "The people who pretended to be official electors in states that were won by Biden were undoubtedly guilty of fraud on the Constitution and on the democracy," he told the Times. "It's a trickier question whether they are guilty of either common-law fraud, state statutory fraud, federal mail fraud, or some other offense."