Analysis: Why Rudy Giuliani’s fake electors scheme was so dangerous to democracy

Cillizza: Let’s begin easy: What, precisely, did Rudy Giuliani (and his group) do? And what was their objective?

Cohen/Cohen: By December 2020, Trump had already misplaced the election however the electoral votes from every state nonetheless had to be licensed. Giuliani and his group successfully tried to subvert that course of in an effort to overturn Biden’s reliable victory — a push that concerned changing actual electors from seven states Trump misplaced with GOP electors.

Giuliani and his group enlisted GOP allies from these states to signal certificates falsely claiming they had been the duly-elected electors — despite the fact that they weren’t.

After numerous election fraud lawsuits in these states failed, Giuliani and his group shifted their focus to January 6. The concept, as outlined in a memo written by conservative lawyer John Eastman, was for then-Vice President Mike Pence to throw out President Joe Biden’s electors and substitute them with the GOP electors on January 6 when Congress counted the electoral votes.

This, in idea, would give Trump extra electoral votes than Biden and permit him to keep his grip on energy.

Cillizza: How detailed was this plan? How far down the rabbit gap did they go?

Cohen/Cohen: This plan was very detailed, and our sources made clear Giuliani and Trump marketing campaign officers had been intimately concerned. They tried to recruit GOP electors to fill the slots wanted to put ahead an “alternate slate,” secured assembly rooms in statehouses the place the GOP electors may meet on December 14 and circulated drafts of those fake certificates that falsely declared Trump had gained.

Trump marketing campaign officers and GOP electors from not less than one state, Pennsylvania, even haggled over the language of those fake certificates within the rapid lead up to December 14.

Cillizza: What can we find out about Trump’s involvement? Was he conscious of what Rudy was doing?

Cohen/Cohen: Honestly, we do not know if Trump was concerned within the behind-the-scenes efforts. It would have been unusual for the President of the United States to be concerned with these nuts-and-bolts particulars of the operation — however we all know that Trump marketing campaign officers, on the nationwide and state stage, had been concerned.

But we do know that on a zoomed-out stage, Trump publicly supported and inspired the scheme. There are a couple of examples of Trump advocating for state legislatures in lots of of those battleground states to overturn their election outcomes, by recognizing the legitimacy of the pro-Trump electors. Trump saved urgent the state legislatures to spring into motion and appoint GOP electors, in states the place Biden gained. He talked about this at a rally in Georgia for the Senate runoff races, and he talked about it once more on the notorious speech on the Ellipse earlier than his supporters invaded the US Capitol on January 6.

Cillizza: Tell me about how these fake elector slates wound up on the National Archives — and why it is important.

Cohen/Cohen: Lots of individuals assume that the “election” ends after the networks undertaking a winner. But clearly, that is not the case. The switch of energy from one US president to the subsequent is spelled out within the US Constitution and numerous federal legal guidelines. It all works via the “Electoral College.”

The folks go to the polls in November. Then the state counts the votes and certifies the outcomes. The state awards its electoral votes to the candidate who gained. Then these electors meet within the statehouse at a chosen date in December, the place they signal certificates to finalize the method. It’s a formality. They signal the certificates and ship copies to the National Archives in DC, and to a number of different authorities entities, just like the chief decide of the federal district courtroom the place the electors met. The National Archives processes the official certificates after which the actual certificates are opened and counted throughout a joint session of Congress on January 6.

The fake certificates are necessary as a result of some authorized consultants, and a few state attorneys normal, at the moment are saying that it may need been unlawful for the GOP electors to ship fake paperwork to the National Archives. (To be clear, the individuals who had been concerned within the plot, who’ve spoken publicly, deny any wrongdoing.)

Cillizza: Finish this sentence: “The threat to the 2020 election results from this scheme was __________. ” Now, clarify.

Cohen/Cohen: “The threat to the 2020 election results from this scheme was that it was literally an attempt to nullify the will of the people of millions of voters in seven states — Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.”

Biden gained these states, however the Trump marketing campaign tried to exploit the Electoral College course of to undo Biden’s victory. More than 13 million Americans voted for Biden in these states. Trump bought hundreds of thousands of votes too, however not sufficient to beat Biden. So Biden was entitled to the 84 electoral votes from these seven states. Remember, 84 electoral votes is a giant deal. You solely want 270 to win. So, 84 is about one-third of all of the electoral votes wanted to clinch the presidency. Team Trump tried to usurp that Electoral College course of and, fairly actually, steal the election in these states. Nullifying elections, on this trend, is nothing wanting an tried coup.

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