News Roundup: Trump’s Co-Conspirators

The 45-page, four-count indictment handed down on Tuesday, accusing Donald Trump of plotting to upend democracy to cling to power, tells a stunning story. While many of those most damning facts have been known for months, if not years, the indictment does contain new details that prosecutors say show a key aspect of the charges: That the former president knew his accusations about election fraud were lies — and that he repeated them anyway in the hope of overturning the will of voters. 

As we outline here, documents we’ve exposed have helped show in black and white how Trump and his allies worked to undermine the peaceful transition of power — from the plot to submit fake electoral certificates falsely claiming Trump won states he actually lost to the attempted corruption of the U.S. Justice Department and his efforts to interfere in the Georgia recount. 

The indictment describes each of these components of the anti-democratic scheme and in so doing underscores a basic principle — that no one is above the law. It also details how six co-conspirators assisted in this brazen effort to thwart democracy.

  • They include Jeffrey Clark, the former Justice Department official who was willing to use the power of federal law enforcement to bolster Trump’s lies. The Washington Post reported this week on how, despite his actions, Clark has become a rising star in right-wing circles.
  • Records we obtained, highlighted by the Post in its story, include an email from just two days after the Jan. 6 insurrection in which Clark told Jeffrey Rosen, then acting attorney general, that he had “left a legacy of accomplishment starting after my confirmation” and that while he and Rosen were often in agreement, “no one can agree on all things and reasonable minds can differ.”
  • Rosen later wrote to a colleague: “I am not going to respond to Jeff Clark’s message given the events that took place with him. Those were not things on which ‘reasonable minds can differ’ and simply move along.” Read more here about the messages we uncovered.

The other identified co-conspirators are Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, John Eastman, and Kenneth Chesebro. And for many of them, their efforts to undermine democracy did not end on Jan. 6, 2021, as our investigations have revealed. This includes the election “audit” in Arizona, in which Giuliani played a significant role — more details below. 

On the Records

Rudy Giuliani’s Involvement in Arizona Audit
Giuliani, who has been identified as “Co-conspirator 1” in the Trump indictment, may have helped assign a volunteer to the sham Arizona “audit” in 2021, according to records reported on by the Arizona Republic this week and previously released to American Oversight. 

  • “I was just asked to help on the AZ Audit starting on April 22nd for 15 days,” a volunteer wrote in an April 2021 email. “This is all under the authorization of Christina Bobb, who works with Rudy.” (Bobb, then a reporter for the right-wing OAN Network, fundraised for the “audit.”)
  • Bobb played an active role in the “audit” and helped connect Doug Logan, the CEO of lead “audit” contractor Cyber Ninjas, with those who helped launch the partisan election review in Wisconsin.  
  • As we’ve previously reported, Giuliani was in frequent contact with Arizona Senate President Karen Fann in the months before the “audit” was officially launched. In December 2021, Fann wrote that she had “spoken with Mayor Giuliani at least 6 times over the past two weeks,” and that she had his full support as well as “a personal call from President Trump thanking us for pushing to prove any fraud.”

Yellow’s CARES Act Loan
Last week, the trucking company Yellow Corp. informed its employees that it is shutting down all of its locations. Yellow Corp. received a $700 million pandemic loan that came through a CARES Act program meant to provide financial support to businesses “critical to maintaining national security.” The loan had raised questions about the company’s ties to the Trump White House and its importance to national security.

  • In 2022, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released a report that cited records we obtained, finding that Trump administration officials overruled the Defense Department to approve the loan. 
  • Records we obtained from the Treasury show top officials — former Secretary Steve Mnuchin, economic adviser Larry Kudlow, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and President Trump’s executive assistant — in contact regarding the announcement of the loan. Read more about those findings here.

Other Stories We’re Following

Election Denial and Threats to Democracy
  • The ‘Johnny Appleseed of election fraud’ wants to upend voting in America. Why he’s focused on California (Los Angeles Times)
  • No charges for 6 of 9 in Michigan tabulator investigation, prosecutor says (Michigan Live)
  • Trump-backed candidate for Michigan AG and ex-GOP lawmaker face state charges over alleged voting machine plot after 2020 election (CNN)
  • Federal judge dismisses Michigan lawsuit to ‘rerun’ 2020 election (Detroit Free Press
  • Why fake electors in Pennsylvania are likely to avoid prosecution (Votebeat)
  • Mohave County votes down ballot hand count for 2024 election cycle (Arizona Republic)
  • A test case challenging election results in Texas’ biggest county follows a post-Trump playbook (Associated Press)
Voting Rights
  • ‘Ripe for political violence’: US election officials are quitting at an alarming rate (Guardian)
  • Meta’s Threads needs a policy for election disinformation, voting groups say (NPR)
  • Dallas county jail adds Election Day polling place after pressure from activists (Bolts)
  • Colorado GOP goes all in on trying to block unaffiliated voters from its primaries with new federal lawsuit (Colorado Sun)
  • Alabama congressional map: Federal court won’t let state relitigate Voting Rights Act (Louisiana Illuminator)
In the States
  • Missouri may allow meatpacker to release wastewater into already-impaired river (Missouri Independent)
  • Ken Paxton’s lawyers seek to dismiss 19 of 20 articles of impeachment (Texas Tribune)
  • Judge dismisses lawsuit against elections commission over military absentee ballots (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
  • Florida effectively bans AP Psychology course over LGBTQ content, College Board says (NBC News)
  • See the list of 374 books an Iowa school district has flagged as banned under new state law (Des Moines Register
  • Moms for Liberty says no to mental health care in schools, but it’s Florida law (Tallahassee Democrat)
  • DeSantis-controlled Disney World district abolishes diversity, equity initiatives (Associated Press)
  • Gov. Tony Evers took down a public records tracking website 4 years ago and never put it back up (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
National News
  • Lawsuit aims to halt the opening of nation’s first religious charter school (Washington Post
  • ‘Even more insidious than the NRA’: U.S. gun lobby group gains in power (Guardian)
  • Some U.S. government agencies are testing out AI to help fulfill public records requests (NBC News)
LGBTQ Rights
  • Florida deviated from standard practices for key report regarding transgender care (Miami Herald)
  • Transgender rights targeted in executive order signed by Oklahoma governor (NBC News)
  • ​​Indiana case on transgender school bathroom use left for Supreme Court to decide (Indianapolis Star)
  • ACLU sues Missouri school district for transgender bathroom policy (Missouri Independent)
  • Kentucky’s youth gender-affirming care ban to remain in effect for now, court rules (Lexington Herald Leader)
Abortion and Reproductive Rights
  • Idaho AG can’t prosecute providers for abortion referrals, federal judge orders in injunction (Idaho Capital Sun)
  • Health care providers sue Alabama officials over threats of prosecution in abortion aid (Alabama Reflector)
  • Lawsuit over Texas abortion ban could be a model in other states (Stateline
  • Ohio voters to consider if abortion access measure should be harder to pass (ABC News)
  • GOP megadonor pours millions into effort to hinder Ohio abortion amendment (CBS News)
  • Inside the party switch that blew up North Carolina politics (New York Times)
  • Doctors emerge as political force in battle over abortion laws in Ohio and elsewhere (ProPublica)
  • After yearlong fight, a near-total abortion ban is going into effect in Indiana (NPR)
  • US appeals court reinstates Guam in-person abortion counseling law (Reuters)
  • Lawsuit over Texas abortion ban could be a model in other states (Iowa Capital Dispatch)
  • Texas troopers separating families at border in apparent policy shift, sources say (Houston Chronicle)
  • Massachusetts district attorney asks DOJ to investigate FL migrant flight to Martha’s Vineyard (Florida Phoenix)
  • Nebraska sending Army Guard troops to Texas-Mexico border (Omaha World Herald)
  • Federal funds will pay to send Iowa troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, governor says (Associated Press)
  • Governor sends WV National Guard to Texas despite reports of not enough work for volunteers (West Virginia Watch)
  • New York City had a migrant crisis. It hired a Covid expert to help (New York Times)
  • What happens when New York’s shelters run out of room? (New York Times)
Trump Accountability
  • Trump team creates legal-defense fund to cover his allies’ bills (New York Times)
  • Trump aide appears in court charged with obstruction in classified documents case (Reuters)
  • Trump aide’s lawyer may have conflicts of interest in documents case, prosecutors say (Reuters)
Jan. 6 Investigations
  • Georgia judge rejects Trump’s efforts to toss evidence in Fulton County probe and disqualify district attorney (CNN)
  • Fulton County DA says work is done in Trump probe and ‘we’re ready to go’ (CNN)
  • Trump Jan. 6 indictment relies heavily on House panel’s work (New York Times)
  • Here are the Trump co-conspirators described in the DOJ indictment (Washington Post)