American Oversight Statement on Fulton County Indictment of Former President Trump for Efforts to Overturn Georgia’s 2020 Election Results

American Oversight released the following statement in response to former President Donald Trump and 18 of his allies having been charged in Fulton County, Georgia, for efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 election results.

Statement from American Oversight Executive Director Heather Sawyer:

“It’s clear from the evidence that Georgia was at the heart of former Donald Trump’s attempt to illegally overturn the election. He was caught on tape pressuring Georgia officials to help him in his bid to cling to power, and had the support of allies who promoted lies about voter fraud and advanced efforts like the fake-electors scheme.

“Audio recordings and documents exposed by American Oversight have shown how Trump and his closest allies sought to subvert the will of Georgia voters, and how they continued to work to undermine democracy there and in other states across the country long after the election was over.”

American Oversight has obtained and published thousands of pages of public records that shed light on the effort to upend U.S. democracy, including the fake-electors plot, Trump’s attempted interference in the Georgia recount, and the post-election efforts to diminish faith in election security.

Pressure on Georgia Recount: After the election, Georgia officials began a recount of the results in that state. American Oversight obtained two sets of records that showed new details of Trump’s attempt to use that recount to overturn Georgia’s election results. 

  • In response to American Oversight’s request, the Georgia secretary of state’s office released audio of a phone call (also released to the Wall Street Journal) between then-President Donald Trump and the state’s chief elections investigator, Frances Watson. 
  • A set of emails shows Cassidy Hutchinson (then an aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and later a witness before the House Jan. 6 committee) contacted Georgia’s deputy secretary of state on Dec. 30, 2020, regarding a visit Meadows had made to Georgia the week before.

Fake Electors: In early 2021, American Oversight obtained and published copies of the phony electoral vote certificates from seven states that were submitted to Congress. The fake certificates were at the center of the failed scheme to enlist Vice President Pence in overturning the election, and were also cited by Trump DOJ lawyer Jeffrey Clark in his draft letter to Georgia officials urging them to convene a special session to reevaluate the election results.

  • American Oversight obtained records showing a senior DOJ official’s handwritten notes on an email rejecting Clark’s scheme, as well as emails from January 2021 in which then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen rejected Clark’s characterization of his actions as something on which “reasonable minds can differ.”

Continued Efforts to Undermine Democracy: The months after the election saw the proliferation of a number of alarming efforts to further undermine trust in the results, from partisan and biased election inquiries in states like Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin to plots to illegally access voting equipment, including in Georgia.

  • American Oversight’s investigation of the Arizona Senate’s partisan and biased “audit” of Maricopa County’s 2020 election results revealed early communications between Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and Senate President Karen Fann, as well as details of the involvement of Trump campaign aide Mike Roman in the audit operation. 
  • American Oversight recently published text messages that appear to reveal prominent election deniers Doug Logan — whose firm conducted the Arizona “audit” — and recently indicted lawyer Stefanie Lambert discussing the alleged 2021 breach of voting machines in Michigan. In one text to another activist, Logan refers to SullivanStrickler, a data forensics firm that, along with Logan, had made multiple visits to an elections office in Georgia’s Coffee County in 2021 as part of a similar plot to access voting machines there.