The fake electoral certificates, copies of which were first uncovered by American Oversight last year, have remained a focus of efforts to unravel the full extent of the plot to subvert the 2020 election.
Their existence and their connection to the former president’s false claims that he had somehow won the election were no secret — the phony state electors who signed their name to the documents did so openly. But as we learn more about who was involved in the wider effort to overturn the will of voters in 2020, the fake-electors scheme has taken on new significance.
- On Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco told CNN that the Justice Department is investigating the phony certificates. Officials in several of the states in question had referred the matter to federal prosecutors.
- New information has surfaced about things like who was in touch with the Trump campaign regarding the strategy and which elected officials enabled the process.
- Attorneys who last year filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Elections Commission alleging fraud by those who signed the fake certificate — including Commissioner Robert Spindell — have threatened to take the case to court if the commission doesn’t act soon.
The House Jan. 6 committee has also been investigating the false-elector plan. And last week, Politico reported that among the records former President Donald Trump had tried to block the committee from seeing was “a draft executive order that would have directed the defense secretary to seize voting machines.”
- Former Trump adviser Bernard Kerik told the committee that the idea for the executive order came from Phil Waldron, the retired Army colonel who had circulated the infamous coup PowerPoint and had consulted with Arizona Senate leaders about the discredited election “audit.”
- “It’s not clear” who wrote the order, reported Politico. “But the draft executive order is dated Dec. 16, 2020, and is consistent with proposals that lawyer Sidney Powell made to the then-president.”
- Documents obtained by American Oversight and reported on by Rolling Stone reveal that days before the (legitimate) members of the Electoral College were set to cast their votes on Dec. 14, 2020, election-denying activists pushed Arizona state lawmakers to use untested technology to toss out “invalid” ballots in an attempt to hand Arizona’s electoral votes to Trump.
- Many of the emails were sent by Waldron, and included members of Trump’s legal and campaign team, including Kerik and lawyer Jenna Ellis.
Arizona ‘Audit’ Records
On Thursday, American Oversight and Phoenix Newspapers Inc. asked Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan questions under oath regarding the failure of his company (which has now been shuttered) to turn over records related to the Arizona Senate’s discredited election “audit.”
Arizona Judge Michael Kemp had ordered the deposition on Jan. 18 after Logan failed to appear for a deposition earlier in the month. The next day, the court consolidated American Oversight’s lawsuit for “audit” records with a similar lawsuit brought by Phoenix Newspapers, the parent company of the Arizona Republic, so attorneys for both groups were able to participate in Thursday’s deposition.
- During questioning, Logan said that he would not be turning over records anytime soon, claiming he had not been given a “clear” ruling and that the records held by Cyber Ninjas were not public. (Multiple court rulings have determined that they are, and the state Supreme Court declined to review the case.)
- Logan said that the company was liquidating its assets and transferring materials to a new entity he’s heading called Akolytos.
- The state Senate is legally obligated to preserve public records from the “audit,” including those held by Cyber Ninjas, but Cyber Ninjas has refused to turn over documents. Last week, Senate President Karen Fann sent a letter to the firm and three subcontractors asking whether the records are being stored at a data center, which Logan said was a secure office in Arizona.
- But let’s not give the Senate too much credit for trying to be transparent. Last week, the Arizona Court of Appeals rejected the Senate’s broad application of legislative privilege in withholding hundreds of “audit” documents, ruling that the Senate must immediately produce records that don’t fall under a more narrow definition of the privilege. The Senate has now appealed that order to the state Supreme Court, which has indicated that it will hear the matter within the next several weeks.
Wisconsin’s Sham Investigation
Officials in Wisconsin also continue to fight transparency in American Oversight’s lawsuits for records from the State Assembly’s ongoing partisan investigation. Last Friday, a judge ordered Michael Gableman, the contracted attorney leading the investigation, to turn over to the court sealed copies of records related to the inquiry by Jan. 31. Gableman’s attorneys responded this week by filing a motion asking the court to reconsider that order.
The Coronavirus Pandemic
This week was the deadline for health care workers at facilities that receive federal funding in about half of the states to receive their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, in compliance with a federal mandate. Other states, where federal courts had blocked the mandate until it was upheld by the Supreme Court earlier this month, have until Feb. 14, and Texas has until Feb. 22. The Biden administration officially withdrew its earlier vaccine requirement for employees at large companies after it was blocked by the Supreme Court.
The number of average daily deaths in the country has surpassed the delta wave’s toll and is the nation’s highest since last winter. Thursday’s seven-day average exceeded 2,400 deaths, and daily hospitalizations average more than 150,000 but appear to be peaking.
- STAT News reported that the Biden administration diverted $7 billion from a fund meant for hospitals and clinics struggling with the pandemic and used the money to buy vaccines and therapeutics. In 2020, the Trump administration had reallocated $10 billion from the fund to Operation Warp Speed. The program has now run out of money to help hospitals with costs such as staffing, personal protective equipment, and care for uninsured patients, and facilities have only been able to submit requests for expenses through March 2021.
- Pfizer-BioNTech began testing an omicron-specific vaccine, and Moderna is developing an omicron-specific booster.
- Seven school boards in Virginia sued to end Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s recently announced mask-optional policy in schools.
- Four inmates at an Arkansas detention center are suing after allegedly being treated for Covid-19 with ivermectin without their knowledge.
- Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, whose state used federal relief money to help schools circumvent mask mandates, is suing the Biden administration to block its attempt to get the money back.
- Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has tested positive for Covid-19 and is unvaccinated, dined indoors in New York City, in violation of the city’s rules. On Wednesday, she was seen again at the restaurant, in its heated outdoor space.
Other Stories We’re Following
The Jan. 6 Investigation
- What the Trump documents might tell the Jan. 6 committee (New York Times)
- It sure looks like this Arizona Republican used campaign cash to attend Jan. 6 riot (HuffPost)
- Alex Jones sat with the Jan. 6 panel and repeatedly pleaded the Fifth. Then he revealed what they asked him on his broadcast (Politico)
- Judge orders Eastman to speed effort to get documents to Jan. 6 committee (Politico)
- Texas attorney general refuses to hand over Jan. 6 records (Associated Press)
- Trump’s team is directing allies to a January 6 legal defense fund (CNN)
The Big Lie and Voting Rights
- State auditor opens inquiry of Otero County contract to audit 2020 election (Alamogordo Daily News)
- Ex-Oath Keeper, Jan. 6 protester behind Michigan audit campaign (Salon)
- Arizona GOP election rules advance, include releasing ballot images (Associated Press)
- The newest Arizona GOP election proposal would allow lawmakers to reject election results (Arizona Mirror)
- Louisiana to suspend participation in electronic voter registration service (WDSU New Orleans)
- Vote-by-mail rejections are testing integrity of Texas Republicans’ voting law (Texas Tribune)
- Mike Lindell’s lawyers are dodging meetings for Dominion’s defamation lawsuit and refusing to hand over discovery material, court documents show (Business Insider)
- Steve Bannon was deplatformed. An obscure media mogul keeps him on the air. (Washington Post)
In the States
- DeSantis vs. Biden in Florida contractor’s text messages canceling monoclonal treatments (Miami Herald)
- Montana attorney general makes move in legal battle against controversial abortion laws (NBC Montana)
- Top Jan. 6 investigator fired from post at the University of Virginia (New York Times)
- Biden administration cancels two mining leases near Minnesota wilderness, in reversal of Trump-era decision (Washington Post)
- How the anti-vax movement is taking over the right (Time)
- Sarah Palin v. New York Times spotlights push to loosen libel law (New York Times)
- Roles of FBI and informants muddle the Michigan governor kidnapping case (New York Times)
- Deep-rooted racism, discrimination permeate U.S. military (Associated Press)
- Amazon paid for a high school course. Here’s what they teach (Vice)