The Big Story
The brazen scheme to subvert the 2020 vote by having pro-Trump electors submit false electoral certificates — which American Oversight obtained through FOIA and published — has not only garnered renewed attention, but also heightened demands for accountability.
On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani “oversaw the effort” and that he was “assisted at times” by Christina Bobb, an anchor from the right-wing One America News.
- American Oversight has previously obtained records from December 2020 showing Bobb sent Arizona Senate President Karen Fann purported “evidence” of voter fraud that had been provided by Giuliani. At the time, the state Senate was gearing up to eventually launch its widely discredited “audit” of Maricopa County ballots.
- According to the Post, the Trump campaign “also worked to find replacements for the electors who were unable to participate, or unwilling.”
- Investigating the fake-electors scheme is an “important step toward uncovering the scope and depth of the attempted plot to steal the election and keep former President Donald Trump in power,” wrote Melanie Sloan, American Oversight’s senior adviser, in Slate. Sloan and co-author Dennis Aftergut outline why the U.S. Department of Justice needs to take up the matter.
As the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection focuses on those phony certificates, it will also be receiving from the National Archives a set of Trump White House documents concerning the attack.
This week, American Oversight obtained new expense records related to the partisan election review in Wisconsin, which is being run by Michael Gableman. The documents reveal that the investigation’s salary expenses for the month of December were nearly twice what they were in September. And as the operation has dragged on past it’s original end date, the number of people on Gableman’s payroll has also gone up.
- We published records that shine a light on conservative officials’ attacks on the state’s bipartisan elections committee. The records also contain emails sent to state Rep. Janel Brandtjen from Erick Kaardal, a lawyer who tried to prevent the certification of Biden’s win and who, as previously reported by American Oversight, has been in close contact with Gableman.
- Brandtjen, the chair of the State Assembly’s elections committee, has criticized Gableman’s review for not going far enough and has been pursuing her own investigation.
- Recent articles have pointed to internal disagreements within the Assembly’s Republican caucus about how to handle Gableman’s election review. Speaker Robin Vos, who hired Gableman, said that he had not authorized Brandtjen’s contract with an attorney who is defending her committee from a lawsuit over the investigation.
- On Thursday, Vos imposed sanctions on state Rep. Timothy Ramthun, a vocal election denier, after Ramthun made false claims about Vos making a deal with attorneys for Hillary Clinton. Ramthun also proposed legislation seeking to revoke Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes for President Joe Biden; Vos reiterated that this was not possible (it’s not) and that the purpose of his election review was not to change the last election’s results.
- Meanwhile, Gableman has issued more subpoenas, this time to voting machine companies for documents related to the location of equipment during the 2020 elections.
In Arizona, a judge ordered Cyber Ninjas and CEO Doug Logan to answer questions under oath from American Oversight regarding the company’s failure to turn over documents from its work on the Arizona Senate’s sham election “audit.” The deposition is scheduled for Jan. 27. That lawsuit has been consolidated with that of the Arizona Republic, which has also sued for records.
- We’ve also sued Pennsylvania’s Fulton County for missing documents related to an election review it conducted at the behest of Trump allies in the state Senate. The state Senate is conducting a partisan investigation of the 2020 election, led by state Sen. Cris Dush.
- The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court last Friday placed a temporary hold on an inspection of voting machines in Fulton County, which the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf had sought to block until there is an agreement over procedure. In December, Dush had requested “digital data” from the county; Dush’s office told the Associated Press that the Fulton County inspection was not covered under the Senate’s $270,000 contract with the firm conducting its election review.
- Meanwhile, Otero County in New Mexico is set to spend $49,750 on an “audit” of the 2020 election.
- The Michigan Board of State Canvassers approved summary language for a ballot initiative that would call for an audit of the 2020 election and would set criteria for audits of future elections.
The Coronavirus Pandemic
The Biden administration announced its plan to make 400 million non-surgical N95 masks from the Strategic National Stockpile available to the public for free. Starting next week, adults will be able to obtain three masks each at pharmacies and community health centers around the country. U.S. households can now also order four free at-home Covid-19 tests at www.covidtests.gov.
Case numbers have begun to decline in some metropolitan areas, while some regions have yet to peak. This week, hospitalizations were at a daily average of more than 158,000 and deaths were slightly above a daily average of 1,900, both figures rising by more than 40 percent in the past two weeks.
- The Florida Department of Health confirmed that Orange County Medical Director Raul Pino had been placed on administrative leave after he sent an email to employees in early January encouraging them to get vaccinated.
- Covid-19 infections among immigrants in detention centers have jumped by 520 percent since the start of 2022, increasing from 285 to 1,766 since Jan. 3.
- Health care workers in 24 states where vaccine mandates were not in effect will have until March 15 to get shots following last week’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the Biden administration’s vaccination mandate for hospitals.
- Following the Supreme Court’s decision blocking the administration’s vaccine mandate for large companies, Starbucks and General Electric are among major employers that have ended their requirements that workers be fully vaccinated or get tested weekly.
On the Records
‘Election Integrity’ Calls
The Guardian reported this week on allegations by Everett Stern, who is running for Senate in Pennsylvania and spoke with the Jan. 6 committee and the FBI, that allies of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn had worked to dig up dirt on two Republican members of Congress to push them into backing an audit of the 2020 election.
- Two of those allies, Alan Hartman and Ivan Raiklin, have pushed for audits in key states that Biden won. The Guardian cites records uncovered by American Oversight showing that Raiklin and Hartman led a series of “Election Integrity” calls with Trump allies and donors to discuss what they called the “election remediation process at state level.”
Last summer, the federal immigration court in San Francisco began fast-tracking hearings for immigrants whose mail was returned as undeliverable. According to records we obtained and shared with the San Francisco Chronicle, judges celebrated the fact that this process resulted in a high percentage of absentia deportations. Read more here.
Other Stories We’re Following
Jan. 6 and the Attempted Coup
- Trump backers sought ways into Michigan Capitol for electors meeting (Detroit News)
- Arizona’s Trump supporters refuse to detail creation of an alternate slate of electors (Arizona Republic)
- New Mexico Republican who signed bogus electoral certificate says he has ‘no regrets whatsoever’ (Las Cruces Sun-News)
- Will false Trump electors’ attempt to hijack the Georgia vote be punished? (Georgia Recorder)
- How Oath Keepers are accused of plotting to storm the Capitol (New York Times)
- MyPillow maven Mike Lindell adds Alan Dershowitz to legal fight against Jan. 6 subpoena (Salon)
- New filings reveal another billionaire behind the Big Lie (Daily Beast)
- CIA finds no ‘worldwide campaign’ by any foreign power behind mysterious Havana syndrome (Washington Post)
- FBI says it’s conducting a ‘court-authorized’ search of Rep. Henry Cuellar’s Texas home (CNN)
- New research shows how health risks to children mount as temperatures rise (New York Times)
- Major airlines cancel, change flights to U.S. over 5G dispute (Associated Press)
- Biden’s immigration goals fade after setbacks at the U.S.-Mexico border (Reuters)
- ‘We’re basically mall cops’: Inside a border mission that feels endless (New York Times)
In the States
- States are taking desperate measures to avoid closing schools (New York Times)
- Revealed: The Flint water poisoning charges that never came to light (Guardian)
- Georgia buys new voter registration system after long lines in 2020 (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- Texas says supply chain issues have limited the number of voter registration forms it can give out (KUT Radio, Austin)
- Florida governor proposes special police agency to monitor elections (Washington Post)
- Florida could shield whites from ‘discomfort’ of racist past (Associated Press)
- Police in this tiny Alabama town suck drivers into legal ‘black hole’ (AL.com)
- DeSantis shakes up Florida redistricting as veto concerns grow (Politico)
- Ohio Supreme Court strikes down new Republican-drawn congressional map as illegal gerrymander (Cleveland.com)
- Census memo cites ‘unprecedented’ meddling by Trump administration (New York Times)
- Trump’s VA legacy: Human capital mismanagement (American Prospect)
- Ken Paxton’s campaign for attorney general in Texas dropped $50,000 at Trump’s private club in Florida (Forbes)
- NY AG says investigation into Trump and his business found ‘significant evidence’ suggesting fraud (NBC News)