Speed Reads

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Jan. 6 'alternate' Trump electors scheme ensnares GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, several fake electors

The Justice Department delivered subpoenas on Wednesday to several people involved in the scheme by former President Donald Trump and his allies to present a slate of "alternate" electors on Jan. 6, 2021, The Washington Post and The New York Times report. The subpoenas from a grand jury in Washington, D.C., widen the federal criminal investigation of the fake electors and the role they played in the effort to overturn President Biden's electoral victory.

Among those subpoenaed, the Times and the Post report, were two sham Trump electors from Georgia, state GOP officials Brad Carver and David Shafer, and Trump campaign official Thomas Lane, shown on video handing out paperwork to fake Trump electors in Arizona on Dec. 14, 2020.

The House Jan. 6 committee devoted part of Tuesday's public hearings to examining the fake electors and how Trump and his allies tried to use them to convince Vice President Mike Pence to thwart Biden's victory. Among the evidence presented was a text exchange between Sen. Ron Johnson's (R-Wis.) chief of staff, Sean Riley, and Pence aide Chris Hodgson during the Jan. 6 electoral count.

In the exchange, Riley said "Johnson needs to hand" Pence "alternate slate of electors for MI and WI because archivist didn't receive them." Hodgson wrote back: "Do not give that to him." The National Archives received the Wisconsin fake elector certificates on Jan. 4, the Post reports

Asked about his role, Johnson told reporters he was "aware that we got something delivered that wanted to be delivered to the vice president," but he "had no hand in it." He said "some staff intern" from the House brought the envelope to his office, but he didn't know the originating congressional office and has no interesting in looking into it, "because there's no conspiracy here."

Later, "Johnson held his phone to his ear and said he was on a call, but a reporter challenged the senator, saying that he could see the screen and knew Johnson wasn't talking to anyone," the Post reports

Former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) had a good laugh at the fake phone call on MSNBC, and he called Johnson's explanation "ridiculous," because "no chief of staff goes to hand the vice president fake electors, a list of fake electors, without asking their boss."

Even if you find Johnson's response credible, it followed several steps he took before Jan. 6 to cast doubt on Biden's victory and urge a delay in certifying the electoral count.