The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Committee investigating Jan. 6 attack issues subpoenas to 14 bogus Trump electors in states Biden won

Protesters in support of Donald Trump gather outside the State Capitol Executive Tower on Dec. 14, 2020, in Phoenix. (Courtney Pedroza/For The Washington Post)
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The congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob has issued subpoenas to 14 individuals who cast bogus electoral votes for the former president in seven states won by Joe Biden in 2020.

The move comes as two Democratic attorneys general have asked federal prosecutors in recent days to investigate whether crimes were committed in assembling or submitting the “alternate” Trump slates. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco this week confirmed prosecutors’ consideration of what she termed the “fraudulent elector certifications.”

In a statement Friday, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the select committee investigating the Capitol attack, said the panel had obtained information that multiple advisers to former president Donald Trump or his campaign had used the actions of the bogus electors to “justify delaying or blocking the certification of the election during the Joint Session of Congress on January 6th, 2021.”

“The Select Committee is seeking information about attempts in multiple states to overturn the results of the 2020 election, including the planning and coordination of efforts to send false slates of electors to the National Archives,” Thompson said. “We believe the individuals we have subpoenaed today have information about how these so-called alternate electors met and who was behind that scheme.”

He encouraged the 14 individuals to cooperate so that the committee can “help ensure nothing like that day ever happens again.”

Ten of the subpoenaed individuals had gathered Dec. 14, 2020, the day of the electoral college vote, in the capitals of five states that Biden had won: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin. They declared themselves “duly elected and qualified” and sent signed certificates to Washington purporting to affirm Trump as the actual victor.

The remaining four individuals cast “alternate” electoral votes for Trump in Pennsylvania and New Mexico and sent certificates explicitly stating that they were to be considered only if the election results were upended.

At the time, Trump’s allies claimed that sending rival slates to Washington echoed a move by Democrats in a close race in Hawaii six decades earlier. They said they were merely locking in electors to ensure they would be available if courts determined that Trump had won any of those states.

But election experts have noted that unlike the Democrats in Hawaii in 1960, Trump had no plausible basis for challenging Biden’s clear and legitimate win in 2020. Multiple courts, recounts and audits have found no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

The House Jan. 6 committee has issued dozens of subpoenas as part of its investigation into last year’s insurrection. This month, it subpoenaed members of Trump’s outside legal team who pursued and disseminated unfounded claims of mass election fraud, including Trump’s former personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani, former White House aide Boris Epshteyn, and lawyers Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell.

Jacqueline Alemany contributed to this report.