American Oversight Statement on Indictment of Former President Trump for Efforts to Overturn 2020 Election

American Oversight released the following statement in response to former President Donald Trump having been indicted for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Statement from American Oversight Executive Director Heather Sawyer:
“The facts are clear and damning. On Jan. 6, 2021, the entire nation watched live as Donald Trump made a last-ditch effort to illegally overturn the election — and the evidence uncovered over the past two years has shown that the storming of the Capitol was the culmination of a larger scheme to subvert the will of voters and cling to power.

“From the fake electors plot and attempted interference in the Georgia recount to the bogus election audits in several states, documents exposed by American Oversight have shown in black and white how Trump and his closest allies worked to undermine democracy. In the United States, no one is above the law and it is long past time for Trump to face justice.”

American Oversight’s Investigations

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, the attempted corruption of the Justice Department, and the post-election spate of partisan ballot reviews.

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 as part of the failed attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The fake certificates were at the heart of the scheme concocted by Trump-allied lawyer John Eastman in his infamous memo outlining how Vice President Pence could overturn 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.

Justice Department Corruption: After the 2020 election, Trump had considered installing loyalist Jeffrey Clark as attorney general. Clark was willing to use the Justice Department to push Trump’s fraud claims, and proposed sending a letter to state officials informing them that the department had “identified significant concerns” about the election.

  • American Oversight obtained texts from the day of the White House meeting on Jan. 3, 2021, in which DOJ officials threatened to resign en masse if Trump went through with his plan to fire acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. Claire Murray, then a principal deputy associate AG, wrote, “Justice is our client,” and said that she would “walk” if Rosen were “fired for not publicly espousing a falsehood.”

Pressure on Georgia Recount: After the 2020 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.

Links to Election Audits and Reviews: American Oversight obtained records showing that the earliest planning for the Arizona Senate’s sham election “audit” began just a month after the 2020 election — and included Phil Waldron, the former Army colonel who would later be in contact with Meadows about efforts to overturn the election.

  • On Dec. 8, 2020 — less than a week before the fake Trump electors met and signed their bogus certificates — Waldron emailed several Arizona legislators with a plan to examine ballots from Maricopa and Pima counties to “pull invalid votes out of the totals… so that your state can certify normal elections and potentially not have to take extra legislative action.” This effort later turned into the Cyber Ninjas-led “audit.”
  • Records also revealed that Arizona Senate President Karen Fann had been in contact with Trump and his legal team — including Rudy Giuliani — in the weeks after the election as they sought evidence of fraud. In one email from late December 2020, Fann wrote that she had Giuliani’s “full support” and had received “a personal call from President Trump thanking us for pushing to prove any fraud.”