Fifteen days after Election Day 2020, James R. Troupis, an attorney for the Trump campaign in Wisconsin, received a memo outlining what became the basis for a bold strategy: offers alternative groups of electors in states where President Donald J. Trump is trying to reverse his loss.
The memo, from another lawyer named Kenneth Chesebro, may not be the first time Mr. Trump’s lawyers and allies have considered the possibility of naming their own electors in the hope that they will eventually can succeed in overturning the results in the battlefield nations. baselessly recounts and claims widespread fraud.
But the memo dated November 18 and the other three weeks that followed is one of the earliest known attempts to put proposals on paper to prepare alternative electors. They have helped shape a key strategy that Mr. Trump will adopt with profound consequences for himself and the country.
The memos show that just over two weeks after Election Day, the Trump campaign sought to give itself more time to undo the results. Central to the strategy is the idea that their real deadline is not December 14, when the official electors will be chosen to reflect the results in each state, but January 6, when Congress meets to certify the results.
And in that focus on January 6 lays the seeds of what has become a pressure campaign on Vice President Mike Pence to accept the validity of a challenge to the outcome and prevent Nationalism. meeting to complete the victory of Joseph R. Biden Jr. — a campaign that would also lead to a violent attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters and an unusual rift in American politics.
“It seems odd that the electors committed to Trump and Pence could meet and cast their ballots on December 14 even if, at that point, the Trump-Pence ticket was trailing behind in the polls. votes and no election certificates were issued in favor of Trump and Pence,” the November 18 memo said. “However, a fair reading of federal regulations suggests that this is a reasonable course of action.”
Both federal prosecutor and House committee investigating the events of January 6 recently confirmed that they are examining efforts to submit alternative groups of electors to the Electoral College. On Friday, congressional investigators issued subpoenas to 14 people claiming to be Trump’s official electors in states where Biden has actually won.
The two memos, obtained by The New York Times, were used by Mr. Trump’s top lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and others such as John Eastman as they develop a strategy to exploit ambiguities in the Voter Count Act, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The memos were initially intended to address Mr. Trump’s challenge to the outcome in Wisconsin, but they eventually became part of a broader conversation by members of Mr. Trump’s legal team as the president. looked towards January 6th and began to put pressure on Mr. Pence to hold the certificate of the electoral college number.
Neither Mr Troupis nor Mr Chesebro responded to requests for comment on the memos. Even before they were written, legislative leaders in Arizona and Wisconsin sought advice from their own attorneys about whether they had the power to change groups of electors after the election and have been effectively informed that they have not done so, according to to new documents obtained by American Sighta group of nonprofit watchdogs.
Mr. Trump has long accepted the plan. Just last weekend, he issued a statement reiterating that he was justified in using the process in Congress on January 6 to challenge the outcome and asserted that Mr. vote”.
The plan to use alternative electors is one of Mr. Trump’s biggest efforts to prevent failure, starting even before some states have finished counting votes and culminating in pressure on Mr. Pence. when he presided over a joint congressional session in January. 6. At various times, the plan involved state lawmakers, White House aides and attorneys like Mr. Chesebro and Mr. Troupis.
In the weeks following the election, Mr. Troupis oversaw a recount effort by the Trump campaign in Wisconsin, which ultimately showed Biden winning more than 20,000 votes. In early December 2020, Mr. Troupis filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Trump campaign seeking to invalidate the use of absentee ballots in Milwaukee and Dane Counties, both of which have large numbers. Black voters.
At a hearing before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, a justice, Rebecca Dallet, noted that Mr. Troupis did not seek to invalidate votes in Wisconsin’s other 70 counties but focused only on the “constituent” portions. most urban, non-white” of the state. Another justice, Jill Karofsky, echoed that sentiment, telling Mr Troupis that his lawsuit “is related to racism.”
In late December, Mr. Chesebro joined Mr. Troupis in asking the US Supreme Court to reconsider the question of whether competing groups of electors in Wisconsin and six other contested states could be considered on 6 May. 1. The High Court denied their request.
The language and suggestions in the memos from Mr. Chesebro to Mr. Troupis closely resemble the tactics and talking points eventually adopted by Mr. Trump’s top lawyers.
The November memo, for example, called January 6 a “hard deadline” for resolving the election results and advised that the Trump campaign had nearly two months for “judicial proceedings” to challenge. result. It also suggests that the Trump-friendly electors of Wisconsin need to meet in Madison, the state capital, on December 14, 2020, the day the electoral college will vote.
The second memo is dated December 9, 2020 and is expanded as planned. It offers an analysis of how to legally delegate alternate electors in six key swing states, including Wisconsin. It notes that the plan is “no problem” in Arizona and Wisconsin, “slightly problematic” in Michigan, “a bit awkward” in Georgia and Pennsylvania, and “very problematic” in Nevada.
Representative Pete Aguilar, a California Democrat and a member of the committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol, said the panel was looking into the origins of the plan to introduce alternate electors. The panel obtained memos written by Mr. Eastman and another Trump attorney, Jenna Ellis, in late December 2020 and early January 2021; those memos set out steps for Congress to take to sidestep Biden’s electors in key pivot countries.
“We know that this is a concerted effort on behalf of the former president and those around him to overturn a free and fair election,” Aguilar said. “We continue to learn new and more detailed information. It’s hard to believe how long they’ve been supporting these efforts in so many states. “
Mr. Aguilar said that he and others on the panel believe the plan to use electors is linked to other aspects of Mr. Trump’s efforts to stay in power, such as proposals confiscation of voting machines and put intense pressure on Mr. Pence to cast a legal electoral vote.
“We need to know the depth of that plan, and we need to know the different ways they have sought to operate their theory,” he said.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/02/us/politics/trump-jan-6-memos.html Memorandum shows the origin of Trump’s focus on January 6 and alternate electors