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Arizona AG Subpoenas Republicans Involved in Trump’s “Fake Electors” Plot

It's unclear for now whether charges will be filed against the fake electors or other Trump 2020 campaign team members.

President Donald Trump dances after speaking at a roundtable rally with Latino supporters at the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa in Phoenix, Arizona, on September 14, 2020.

An Arizona grand jury that is investigating attempts to interfere with the outcome of the 2020 presidential election has subpoenaed a number of Republican officials in the state who served as fake electors.

In several states where President Joe Biden narrowly defeated former President Donald Trump, so-called “alternate electors” — often described as “fake electors” by media to denote that they had no legitimacy whatsoever — assembled at state capitols at the same time that legitimate electors did in December 2020, creating false documentation that Trump had won those states. In some cases, fake electors appeared to have been told that they were only assembled so that, in the event that court challenges later became successful, their states’ elector votes could be switched to Trump.

No such challenges were ever successful. But the plot went forward anyway, with Trump encouraging his vice president, Mike Pence, to count the fake electors as legitimate, or at least deem the real electors’ votes as uncountable, after several of the false documents were sent to Washington D.C. with hopes by Trump allies that they’d be included in the Electoral College certification ceremony. (Pence ultimately refused to participate in the plan, leading to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, by a mob of Trump loyalists.)

Charges against fake electors, including in Nevada, Michigan and Georgia, have been filed at the state level, with investigations occurring in other states such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

For around a year, Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) has been leading a grand jury investigation into state Republicans’ involvement in the plot. According to a report from Politico, subpoenas were issued “in recent weeks” to the fake electors who signed the document alleging that Trump won the state.

It’s unclear for now whether Mayes will issue charges against the fake electors, or focus on Trump 2020 campaign officials instead. The subpoenas request that each of the Republicans who were part of the slate of fake electors testify before the grand jury to explain their involvement in the scheme.

Beyond looking into the fake electors’ actions themselves, Mayes’s office is also asking about Trump, his former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and former Trump attorneys John Eastman and Kenneth Chesebro, who orchestrated the fake electors plot. A source speaking to The Washington Post about the subpoenas has indicated that they put particular emphasis on learning more about Chesebro’s involvement.

Mayes, who has previously described her investigation as “robust,” has indicated that it will conclude the inquiry in the near future.

Biden won Arizona’s 11 Electoral College votes in 2020 by defeating Trump with one of the narrowest margins in state history. The state, which has long been a Republican stronghold, has undergone a huge political shift in recent years, giving it a “swing” state status in modern statewide contests.

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