Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel Charges Michigan’s Fake Trump Electors

The whole time that DC journalists were focused on Fani Willis’s Georgia fake electors investigation and — more recently — Arizona, I was laughing because I knew prosecutors in Michigan were working away quietly.

Today, Attorney General Dana Nessel charged Trump’s 16 fake electors with 8 felonies apiece.

They include very senior Republicans, including former GOP Chair, Meshawn Maddock, and close Ronna McDaniel associate Kathy Berden.

As I noted in March, one thing horse race considerations always forgot is that very senior Republicans in at least three swing states risked charges themselves. They risked charges — and Trump attorney Kenneth Chesbro knew they did, because he wrote that down in a December memo.

Several States also had rules requiring electors to cast their votes inthe State capitol building, or rules governing the process for approving substitutes if any original proposed electors from the November ballot wereunavailable. As a result, Chesebro’s December 9, 2020, memo advised the Trump Campaign to abide by such rules, when possible, but also recognizedthat these slates could be “slightly problematic in Michigan,” “somewhat dicey in Georgia and Pennsylvania,” and “very problematic in Nevada.”18

In the case of Michigan’s electors, Michigan law requires electors sign their paperwork in the Capitol. Instead, Trump’s fake electors did that in the basement of their own party headquarters.

These defendants are alleged to have met covertly in the basement of the Michigan Republican Party headquarters on December 14th, and signed their names to multiple certificates stating they were the “duly elected and qualified electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America for the State of Michigan.” These false documents were then transmitted to the United States Senate and National Archives in a coordinated effort to award the state’s electoral votes to the candidate of their choosing, in place of the candidates actually elected by the people of Michigan.

As I said in March, no one can predict how the party will respond if Trump’s recklessness starts getting other senior Republicans charged.

We’re about to find out.

Update: Here’s the affidavit behind the charges.

127 replies
  1. Jharp jharp says:

    Michigan has been putting on a clinic for the rest of the battleground states.

    Enough so that I’m within a hair of dumping my Buckeyes and going with the Wolverines.

    I just can’t take Ohio State fans any longer. (1983 grad)

    The topper was when Trump gained support in Ohio from 2016 to 2020.

    Ohioans saw what Trump was all about and he gained support.

        • Chaz_18JUL2023_1954h says:

          Beaver stadium … ha!

          [Welcome to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Because your username is far too short and common it will be temporarily changed to match the date/time of your first known comment until you have a new compliant username. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Wajimsays says:

      “Uttering” AND “publishing”? Isn’t that how law differentiates slander from libel? Though Trump seems to have jumped the shark between them

  2. gertibird says:

    I am so glad to hear this. The Republican Party has just gone very very far down the rabbit hole and seems to have no respect for our laws, our democracy or their constituents. I also hope to see the Congressional Republicans: Jim Jordon, MTG, Gaetz and others who tried to get pardons from Trump investigated for criminal activity. Why else would they need pardons? The damage the Republican Party is doing to our country is unbelievable. They have devolved into a complete destructive clown show that’s not funny at all.

  3. Artemis Prime says:

    Today has been a crazy news day! I think a lot of Democrats and Republicans alike convinced themselves that Jan 6th politicians wouldn’t face any consequences. Although I expected the news (not so soon, but eventually), even I am still feeling a little shocked so I can’t imagine what Republicans are feeling. Things hit differently with felony indictments on senior Republicans. They might double down or they might fully abandon Trump. I am worried they will double down because they have been so cowardly about losing Trump supporters. Plus, my gut is that they will hire much better lawyers than any of the other Jan 6 cases and thus maybe? have a better chance to get a slap on the wrist (but I am not a lawyer). I bet their lawyers won’t be paid for by Trump. From a broader perspective, disentangling Trump from the GOP while retaining his supporters will be very difficult, and I wonder if the GOP apparatus will now try. I couldn’t imagine that happening without some coordinated efforts across Republican politicians and right-wing media.

    • John Paul Jones says:

      I think that even if the base doesn’t like the GOP dis-attaching the Trump umbilical cord, that base will have few other voting options, thus, in the end, at election time, they will vote GOP rather than stay home. The consideration that such voters have nowhere else to go may, in the end, embolden the GOP apparatus to ditch Trump.

  4. RitaRita says:

    Wasn’t the entire Republican senior leadership in high dudgeon when the Jan. 6th Committee served Kathy Berden a subpoena? The weeping and wailing now will be exponentially more dramatic.

    Many tv lawyers had speculated that the Special Counsel would get his indictment in before the states. What do people think about the fact that Trump was not named in the Michigan indictment?

      • Rayne says:

        Or the federal charges related to this portion of the conspiracy will be handled by Special Counsel separately, and may not include the fake electors who signed the fraudulent certification but instead will focus on those who were responsible for organizing what looked like a interstate conspiracy (see WilliamOckham’s observation posted as an update to this post profiling MIGOP’s fake electors).

        • WilliamOckham says:

          Yes, irrespective of the jurisdictional issues, as a matter of public policy, I like Nessel’s approach of charging the Michigan political elites who participated in the coup in state court. States ought to be able to defend themselves against citizens who engage in fraud against the state.
          Also, it offers the feds a lagniappe in the form of making it easier to show the interstate conspirators acted corruptly. If I were Jack Smith, I’d be pleased. Of course, I’m not, so who knows…

          • PumpTheBrakesBro says:

            “Also, it offers the feds a _lagniappe_…”

            Thank you for the new word. One of the many reasons I read this site. Although I’m sure I would have made a terrible ass of myself trying to use it aloud had I not looked up the pronunciation.

            • Bobster33 says:

              Talk to someone from New Orleans. I first learned the word when I read James Carville’s book some 20 years ago.

        • emptywheel says:

          Right. And there’s little chance that Nessel has had no contact with Smith’s office. His decision to immunize the NV fakes, who are still top bigwig in their GOP and who can’t be charged in NV, may reflect that he’s NOT planning on charging state level fake electors and states HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT.

          • Rayne says:

            Thoroughly enjoyed the affidavit’s narrow delineation of the conspiracy by the fake electors to just those 16 MIGOP members. Super tight, no bleed through to a federal case that I can see since the few non-MIGOP not-fake-electors mentioned in the affidavit aren’t charged (ex. attorney Ian Northon, Trump campaign aide Shawn Flynn).

            WRT the target letter, though, I’m wondering if “deprivation of rights under color of law” referred not just to election rigging but to specific cases, ex. where Trump summoned to a 20-NOV-2020 meeting two MIGOP state legislature leaders before the election certification — specifically MI senate majority leader Mike Shirkey and house speaker Lee Chatfield, ostensibly about COVID-19 response but in actuality about what the MIGOP-controlled state could do to support certifying the state for Trump.

            Was the meeting called by Trump as president using COVID as cover? Was this also an attempted bribe — more COVID aid to Michigan if Shirkey and Chatfield managed to wrangle the state legislature to take measures supporting the election’s certification for Trump?

            ADDER 11:53 a.m. ET — LOL I was busy moderating and didn’t see you’d put up a post discussing the 18 USC 242 charge as well as 371 and 1512(c)(2).

            With the news that Special Counsel had only just subpoenaed this week the surveillance video at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena, I wonder if the 242 could yet include the harassment of Freeman and Moss at this point rather than another offense. Still thinking of what Biden’s campaign attorney said:

            Bob Bauer, an attorney with the campaign who also served as White House counsel under former President Barack Obama, specifically highlighted Trump’s Friday afternoon meeting with House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey as the president’s latest bid to undermine the results of the election.

            “It’s an abuse of office. It’s an open attempt to intimidate election officials. It’s absolutely appalling,” Bauer said.

      • Pantone_294 says:

        Kenneth Chesebro and John Eastman organized and directed the “fake electors”. Who was their client? Who paid them for their time and effort? Where did the $$$$ money to carry out this scheme come from, and who authorized its disbursement? If Chesebro or Eastman won’t talk, maybe Rudy will …

      • timbozone says:

        It’s not clear at this point what further evidence AG Michigan led investigations may have uncovered with national level political campaign and administrative figures. What is clear is that there’s enough evidence, like the video of these GOP fake elector clowns trying to browbeat their way into the Michigan State Capitol literally claiming that they are trying to submit “official election documents”, to bring a solid case against many or all of those indicted in Michigan today.

        Ref video of bozo clown GOP fake electors trying to wheedle there way into the Capitol with their fake bozo clown documents:


        • LadyHawke says:

          Got to wonder if that admirable officer has small children – he stayed so calm and steady while facing that barrage of totally unreasonable demands.

      • Rugger_9 says:

        Yet. As noted above, this is something that SC Smith appears to be looking into (at the delivery side in DC) so Defendant-1 shouldn’t get too comfortable yet. It looks like AG Nessel is looking at the supply side in MI.

        Let’s remember that the MI statehouse was also a dress rehearsal for J6 (and IIRC the capitol police in Lansing waved the ‘protestors’ through, even though violence was promised against Governor Whitmer and AG Nessel). Many of the same techniques (i.e. stacking) were tried out.

        I think the connections to GOP presidential campaign operatives official and otherwise (like Stone and Rudy) will be identified in due course.

  5. Peterr says:

    Was it Michigan where the fake electors tried to sneak into the Capital to meet the “sign it in the Capital” requirement but were turned away by security?

  6. boatgeek says:

    So there’s two counts of each of forgery and election law forgery (presumably the votes for president and vice president are the two counts), one of uttering and publishing (creating a document with intent to defraud), and associated conspiracy charges. The total sentence of the various charges is 85 years, though of course they won’t get that.

    Given that the signed certificates presumably exist, it seems (IANAL) like the best possible defense is that they thought that they were allowed to submit a separate slate of electors, maybe with a dash of “this was just in case a court said Trump won the state.” Given that they signed the documents in the basement of the Republican Party HQ rather than the state Capitol, it seems like they’ve already put a hole in that argument since it appears that they knew they were in the wrong. The average age of the defendants is 69 years, maximum 82. For several, even a 3-5 year sentence could be life. How long before we see some of the underlings flip on the higher-ranked ones?

    • bmaz says:

      What? Maybe let the actual feds deal with this as opposed to trying to decide who dies in jail, much less prison.

      • Dave_McC says:

        Dana tried to give it to the feds in Jan 2022. I think they were a little busy. Some later comments elaborate. BTW she is the real deal here in Michigan.

      • boatgeek says:

        I’m not rooting for anyone to die in prison. I’m saying (maybe badly) that people over 75 looking at a several year sentence if convicted have an awfully large incentive to flip on people above them.

        Is it inappropriate for a state AG to charge crimes committed in the state? I can see giving the feds priority if they want it, but per Peterr’s comment below, the feds didn’t seem that interested in charging the case.

      • timbozone says:

        Local and state officials are correct to be policing local election laws, and that includes charging people when they commit statewide election tampering and, most especially, felonious creation of fraudulent state election records, etc.

        • montysep says:

          “Digging something up
          You’re digging something up
          Always digging something up…”

          – Jane’s Addiction

      • Wajimsays says:

        Well, there’s a criminal defense attorney right there that is. Wish I would have had your card a decade ago

    • Rugger_9 says:

      In at least one of the fake elector states the perpetrators did include the weasel words for the court contingency, but not MI. And, that is the problem, because the ex post facto justification probably won’t fly in a court. These guys meant it when they signed it.

      • Rayne says:

        PA and NM were the weasel words states.

        Illegitimate election certification documents from New Mexico and Pennsylvania included language making their claims less brazen. For instance, New Mexico’s letter read “on the understanding that it might later be determined that we are the duly elected and qualified Electors…” suggesting the document’s validity was contingent upon proving claims of election fraud.

        source: https://www.nevadacurrent.com/2022/01/28/january-6-panel-subpoenas-nevada-fake-electors-mcdonald-degraffenreid/

        • bgThenNow says:

          Yes, I have long been curious if the fake electors in NM were tipped to this as a way out when one of the most wealthy of our partisans, Harvey Yates, refused to be part of this, most likely because he has good lawyers or has had good legal advise in various matters over the years. He was actually an official elector, IF the election had gone the other way, and when he opted out, they had to get someone else involved. NM Republican Party politics has had some infighting over the last number of years. Yates was on the opposite side of the party chair, Steve Pearce, who seems to have been taken in by a part-time NM resident, John Eastman, who you may recall had his phone confiscated by the feds in Santa Fe

          • smf88011 says:

            I think the NM fake electors knew that Trump lost the election but decided to hedge their support with good sense. They used the weasel words fully knowing that they have nothing to back their claims so wanted to try to protect themselves. They saw what Couy Griffin did and wanted no part of it.

            In other words, they didn’t want to go along with Trump but were afraid of his base in eastern and rural areas of NM. They signed the certificates but demanded that it contain language that could be used in the attempt to weasel out of their breaking the law.

      • N.E. Brigand says:

        There was a sort of half-precedent from Hawai’i in 1960 for a slate of alternate presidential electors to organize. And those would-be electors also made it clear that they were doing so on a contingent basis — and in the end. those alternate electors became the actual electors. The difference, as discussed briefly here about 17 months ago, was in that case, a federal judge had ordered a recount that was still underway when the original slate of electors was certified:


        (As I mentioned at the time, while it doesn’t matter for the purposes of this comparison, for some unknown reason Lt. Governor James K. Kealoha was the Acting Governor in late November and early December of 1960.)

        Note that Marcy pointed out at that time that one reason Republicans censured Liz Cheney was in response to the January 6th Committee having subpoenaed Kathy Berden, who was indicted today. I wonder if Josh Dawsey will make the connection.

        (I now see that BobBobCon linked to the same post below.)

        • Shadowalker says:

          “ those alternate electors became the actual electors. The difference, as discussed briefly here about 17 months ago, was in that case, a federal judge had ordered a recount that was still underway when the original slate of electors was certified”

          Those weren’t alternate electors, after the recount showed they were the actual electors the governor had them make a new set of certificates which he certified. When Congress was in the joint session they agree to use the Electoral Count Act as the rules for the session. When they came up to Hawaii, they had 3 different sets of electoral votes, one set for Nixon, and two sets for Kennedy one each certified and not certified with the difference being creation date. Nixon called for and was granted that the rules be suspended and that the votes cast for Kennedy that were certified be determined to be the true votes. The thing about joint sessions, it requires agreement of both houses to suspend the rules and make a unique determination that may not follow the Electoral Count Act to the letter.

          Their plan would never work because it not only doesn’t follow the ECA, they needed both houses to agree to suspend the rules first to even put them up for consideration let alone accepted as true.

          • N.E. Brigand says:

            We’re in complete agreement. (I mentioned almost all of that in the linked comment from Feb. 2022. Still curious about the acting governor, though.)

        • timbozone says:

          Did you watch/read the Michigan AG’s full statement from today? She addressed and dismissed the comparison to Hawaii 1960 case.

    • Rayne says:

      No. They knew they were trying to pull a fast one. The fake electors discussed a plan to try and hide in the state capitol building to beat the true electors. Because they didn’t do that, they tried to get into the capitol on 12/14/2020 and were turned away by Michigan State Police who’d already confirmed the true electors were inside the building.

      The signed certificates are out there, thought I had a copy but I only uploaded the signature page for my post about the fake electors’ backgrounds.

      Looking for it just now, I realized Kathy Berden and Mayra Rodriguez fucked themselves because they processed the replacement for two of the original GOP electors who chose not to participate in this fraud. This document is one of two which sinks them:

      Date signed: December 14, 2020.

      • Alan_OrbitalMechanic says:

        I really appreciate the information in this posting.

        For some time now I have been unable to stop thinking about the mindset of the people whose names are signed there. I look at that and see a pure and complete conviction that what they thought they were doing was legal and just and pure and even noble.

        They convinced each other that was the case. If you were in the middle of that group you would see everyone else was confident so why shouldn’t you be? And to not go through with it would risk expulsion from the inner circle. To some of them that would be worse than getting shot at Jonestown for not drinking the kool-aid.

        So it is very interesting data point (to me at least) that there were people who did not go along with it. I really would like to see an incisive interview with those people but it is certain that their own attorneys would not allow it at this point.

        • Rayne says:

          Oh, it’s more than “people who did not go along with it.” Terri Lynn Land was one of two, but not just any MIGOP party member or official.

          Land had been Michigan’s secretary of state for two terms, 2003-2011. She wasn’t exactly an angel herself, having purged many Democratic voters from the rolls in her term of office as well as attempting to shut down two major secretary of state offices in minority majority districts, stopped only by DOJ’s federal civil rights division.

          I wrote about Land’s “recusal” in my post profiling the MIGOP fake electors in January 2022.

          And yet this fake electors shit stunk so bad that even Land, a DeVos-bought-and-paid-for flunkie, refused to participate in the conspiracy.

          • timbozone says:

            It will be interesting to see what Land and/or Wall will be testifying was their reasons for not signing on to this conspiracy in any trials of today’s indicted Michigan fake electors. I imagine that one or both have already testified before Michigan grand juries as to their reasoning for balking at going ahead further into bonkers conspiracy to help keep Trump’s sedition alive.

        • emptywheel says:

          There are comms in the Jan6 package, and we’ll see far more over the years, that show the state fake electors just talking among themselves about what they can do to help Trump. There’s no concern about breaking the law. It’s a snapshot of how Trump really corrupted this party beyond its innate corruption.

          • Terduken says:

            “ It’s a snapshot of how Trump really corrupted this party beyond its innate corruption.”

            Innate corruption is a description with resonance.

            I have yet to come across a member of the republicans who has not ascribed to the phrase, “all for me and none for thee.”

            Politics and religion go together lik chlorine bleach and ammonia.

        • Germane1 says:

          A sample size of one is obviously too small to generalize about the mindset of any particular group, by my spouse had the extreme misfortune to work with one of the fake electors in PA. Personality disorders out the wahzoo, primarily narcissism, an enormous persecution complex mixed with some religious fanaticism, and the unshakable belief she was never, ever wrong, resulting in a complete inability to take responsibility for her own actions or sincerely apologize for anything. (PS, sorry if my user name changed; it’s been a while since I commented, and I don’t remember much these days.)

          [FYI — you commented last autumn as “Germane1.” I will change your username on this comment from “Germane8” to match it. Thanks for the heads up. /~Rayne]

      • RitaRita says:

        Thanks for posting this certificate.

        When I look at it, the first image that comes to mind is the fake dollar bills that used to accompany some board games. They had what looked like appropriate legal mumbo jumbo but no one would ever think they were the real thing.

        What were they thinking when they signed on to this scheme?

      • flounder says:

        Thanks for this. Very interesting. I saw somewhere on Twitter that I can’t find now because their search is broken, where there was also text messages from some of the charged griping that they swore secrecy but one of the other fake electors was posting their criminal activity to Facebook.

      • WilliamOckham says:

        Gimme a shout if you need any of the fake elector certificates. Or the real ones. I grabbed all of them from 2020. I got the fake ones from American Oversight and the real ones from NARA.

        And I just have to say it. It warms my soul to know that we can credit archivists for providing us (the people) the opportunity to rid ourselves of that narcissistic vortex of chaos known as Donald J. Trump. I’ll pray that the legal system is up to the task, because Lord knows the political system has totally failed us.

  7. Chirrut Imwe says:

    Attorney General Nessel is very impressive. Michigan voters are to be commended. Thank you!

      • chocolateislove says:

        Sadly they are all term limited. I’m hoping (and trying to do my part in making it happen) that all of the good that they are doing will help keep the momentum going for the next election of Gov, AG and SOS.

  8. Peterr says:

    Dana Nessel’s press release says this is an ongoing investigation, and further indictments may come from that. I suspect there are some high level GOP folks in MI who will not be sleeping well tonight.

  9. Peterr says:

    From The Guardian:

    Nessel referred the fake electors to the justice department in January 2022, but reopened the case earlier this year when federal prosecutors had not brought charges, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    • gertibird says:

      And after she won reelection. Honestly the Fed’s have enough on their plate with all Trump’s crimes. State crimes can also not be pardoned by a president.

      • emptywheel says:

        Yeah, I think people are REALLY ignoring that Nessel had good reason to let the feds take over for a while.

        • bmaz says:

          If AZ AG @krismayes pulls this stupid garbage, I will do everything possible to oppose her electorally. Let the Feds take care of it.

          • emptywheel says:

            We understand that the bmaz who hated when the Feds bigfooted on state crimes has been absconded by martians, no need to remind us.

                    • Scott_in_MI says:

                      How many of us have to make the same point before bmaz realizes that he has, in fact, done a poor job of explaining his position?

                  • Wajimsays says:

                    Sounds like somebody needs to get on their bad moter scooter and ride. Just got a wrecked Norton Commando for my kid, b. I’ll live vicariously as we restore it (my riding days are over, sadly) and counsel him repeatedly about not killing himself

                • 0Alexander Platt0 says:

                  The idea that instead of having a dozen blind men trying to take down a leg here, a trunk there, and a tusk or two if they can scrape something together, you can have a federal department overseeing the prosecution of the entire, fundamentally national, corrupt elephant, is not that obscure and shouldn’t need to be spelled out again and again in every thread.

                  Apologies in advance for oversimplification and any mischaracterization.

          • timbozone says:

            Are you arguing that Nessel is not on sound legal grounds, not on strong conduct of election grounds in making these indictments? How are local election and state government officials supposed to police the integrity of their own elections if they have to wait around for the Feds to do it every time?

            • David F. Snyder says:

              I’d prefer they prosecute on the coattails of the Feds. Smith has decades of experience in prosecuting corrupt goings on, with high quality results. For one thing, it’s always better to learn from someone more experienced*. Also, “a point of seeing takes precedence over experience. But not even creative insight is a substitute for experience.” (from Robert Fripp’s collection of aphorisms). I’m not sure why Nessel felt now was the time to prosecute now (though there may be a good reason, such as SoL or maybe an agreement with Smith’s team). But I don’t see how she’d have better results than Smith.

              The El Paso Walmart shooter was prosecuted first by DOJ and now will be by the State of Texas, so coordinated efforts in big cases are possible.

              * “I was trained by someone who didn’t know what they were doing” = “I am self-taught”

          • Arianity says:

            Shouldn’t you wait for proof that she messed up the federal investigation in some way before committing to that? Since that is supposedly the concern here. Otherwise no harm, no foul.

            • David F. Snyder says:

              True. Though, recall that elected AGs (see Ken Paxton) aren’t necessarily immune to political pressures. Though, Nessel doesn’t strike me as that type.

            • bmaz says:

              No, I am good, thanks. Law can be screwed up by shifting it from state to federal, and from federal to state as well. I very much do not want states involved in this. And, no, I do not need “proof” to say that. The health of the law is far more important than Trump is.

    • P’villain says:

      Whatever one thinks of DA Willis’s work, this reported tender to the feds, plus a year of patient waiting, clearly distinguishes these cases from the investigation (and impending indictments) in GA. IMHO.

      • David F. Snyder says:

        Still, she waited until after the far-more experienced Smith was on board and made it clear he was going to not delay in bringing any charges that were warranted. That strikes me as odd if not impatient.

        • Rayne says:

          It’s July 2023. The crimes were committed in December 2020. Tick-tock. See also the election calendar.

          • David F. Snyder says:

            Point taken. There’s a statement (without supporting link) on Wikipedia that Michigan has 6 years as the statute of limitations on the types of charges laid, so it’s not that type of time pressure likely; though, this point in time is at the midpoint, not necessarily a pressure point on its own. On the other hand, I can see how the electoral clock is a compelling motivator, especially if the evidence for the Fed’s case is not as strong as in, say, Georgia or Arizona. The Michigan primary was moved up to the 4th Tuesday in February (from the second Tuesday in March) this last January, so there isn’t really much time on that front.

            • Rayne says:

              Michigan’s current Democratic trifecta holding the governor’s office and both houses of state legislature is on the line *THIS YEAR* as the current margin could be upset should two Dem state house reps win their mayoral races.

              See https://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2023/07/17/mayoral-bids-democrat-majority-michigan-house/70307913007/

              While a 54-54 state house won’t be enough to pose a threat of impeachment, it could muck up any other efforts related to legislation related to law enforcement and any additional state funding of special investigations. The heat is on to get prosecutions rolling in order to make it more difficult for the GOP to obstruct funding.

              • David F. Snyder says:

                Thanks for sharing these (this and your other comments above). Not being from MI, I am obviously ignorant of these details. I’m quite interested in them though, as I think there’s some things my (“red”) state’s party could learn from MI Democrats. Well, that’s a different topic and discussion. Also OT: would Whitmer be a good 2028 candidate? Seems like she has the goods to me …

              • Arianity says:

                Someone would presumably get to name replacements, right? It’d be such an own goal if they just gave up the trifecta willingly (not even talking about this specifically, just in general). MI’s been on a roll. =/

        • timbozone says:

          She waited until Michigan grand juries could get a good handle on the actions of the 16 fake electors indicted today. There is no need for state officials to always wait for federal officials to take action before taking their own investigatory steps when state laws have been broken in such brazen manners.

          Note that I sense a lot of pull from some here for Federal centralization of election administration when it comes to adherence to >state< election laws that are valid under state and Federal statute. That's an odd bird legally unless one is somehow advocating for a much more centralized governance of the United States elections at the state and local level.

          • David F. Snyder says:

            True. I’m definitely not advocating for more centralized control. The Texas GOP is taking local control away, particularly from areas that are threatening their stranglehold on state politics; in short, a fascist-ish system has been slowly accreting in the state. Centralized voting also has voting security issues—Putin might have won in 2016 if voting oversight was completely federal and their cyberattacks succeeded.

    • Arianity says:

      Sounds exactly like the sort of situation you’d want a state AG to step in. Like this is literally the hypothetical reason for a federalized system in the first place.

  10. wetzel-rhymes-with says:

    I remember back in January of 2022 when Newt Gingrich started threatening the Jan 6 Committee members with jail. Here is the Guardian’s coverage. Everyone thought old Newt was off his rocker.


    I had suspected Newt’s unhinged response at that time over a year ago emanated from his realization that he was going to jail. It occurred to me Newt must have been one of the arm-twisters here in Georgia, working behind the scenes to get the fake electors on board. There are crooks and there are dopes in this story. These fraudulent electors were the dopes who let themselves become the signatories of the sedition, the fake electors here in Georgia, Michigan and these other states.

    So I am waiting for the other shoe to drop in Georgia for Newt. Last month he was testifying before the Jan 6 grand jury. Maybe inshallah there are felony charges coming. I have an unhealthy attachment to the idea like the joy of Revolutionary Tribunals, but Newt is such a dick I forgive myself.

    I was in high school in his district south of Atlanta in the 80’s. Newt Gingrich came to talk to the Beta Club, so I’ve had a 4 decades old revulsion for that old phony, Newt Gingrich. I have a special interest, so what began as a fantasy takes on clearer contours. It’s reality, Newt, you old fucker. Soon maybe it will be your time to face the music.

    Is this an unhealthy form of pleasure?

    • Rayne says:

      You might want to read the transcripts of testimony these “dopes” gave the House J6 Committee. After pleading the 5th so many times in a single sitting, you realize they were fully in on it and aware of what they were doing — crooks, not dopes.

      Two of the GOP’s electors who would have served if Trump actually won were replaced. Those two? They were neither dopes nor crooks.

      • wetzel-rhymes-with says:

        “You know that one and a half of the State Senate of Utah are screwheads. You know I was never really frightened by the bopheads and the potheads with their silliness never really frightened me either, but these goddam screwheads, they terrify me. And the poor doomed, the young, and the silly, the honest, the weak, the Italians… they’re doomed, they’re lost, they’re helpless, they’re somebody else’s meal, they’re like pigs in the wilderness.

        Come here Harris, come here. F*** the doomed!”

    • LeeNLP149 says:

      “Is this an unhealthy form of pleasure?”

      While I am not a psychiatrist, I will give my uninformed opinion anyway: No. Most definitely no.

      [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. You published this comment as “LeeNLP149” though you have 48 comments published as “LeeNLP941.” If you confirm this was a typo in Reply below I will edit the username to match your previous comments. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Ravenous hoarde says:

      “ but Newt is such a dick I forgive myself.”

      For what little it’s worth and without you asking, I forgive you too.

      I don’t have lived memories of Gingrich in his heyday. But I made the mistake of listening to a recent podcast about his rise. And then he agreed to be interviewed for a bonus episode. Listening to something “about” him was infuriating. Listening to his bloviating and obfuscation and smugness from his own mouth decades after seeing what his folly wrought. No words.

      I imagine meeting him in person before he even had the persona to stand by must be like staring right in the eye of sauron.

      So yeah, fuck that guy. Fingers crossed, we can seek absolution elsewhere.

    • Purple Martin says:

      In a recent interview about the 2022 midterm Republican election results, Newt Gingrich said:

      “I feel like a guy whose compass is so goofed up I have no idea which way is north.”

      That’s as perfect a less that 20-word distillation of a person’s entire life, as any I’ve ever heard.

    • Chirrut Imwe says:

      At the time Newt made his rise, I would say that I definitely was not as interested in/aware of national politics (and governance) as I am now. That said, I distinctly remember having a visceral-level revulsion to him even from the other side of the country.

  11. Sandor Raven says:

    I did not want this to get buried in stale comments … posted above courtesy of timbozone:

    “Ref video of bozo clown GOP fake electors trying to wheedle there way into the Capitol with their fake bozo clown documents:”


    (Look closely at the end of the clip and you will recognize some of those charged.) Interesting how history can be made at the doorsteps.

    [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

    • timbozone says:

      1. In context, this is an attempt at the Michigan State Capitol building on Dec 14, 2020.

      2. Rayne posted a similar video link about two minutes after mine in a different subthread here.

      This video is going to be interesting, if allowed during trials of any of these GOP bozo clowns. I’m waiting to see how defense counsel might spin half-hearted attempts to disallow it as evidence. Also of interest will be if one or more of the Capitol security detail from the video are called to testify on behalf of either the prosecution or the defense. These bozo GOP clown frauds seem to have created their own “interesting times” in a secret series of bold, misguided move to subvert a Michigan election, culminating in their public and video taped attempts to get into the Michigan state Capitol and then subsequent filing with the National Archives their illegal documents.

      The Feds will very likely be bringing a series of charges against the same characters in this video, the characters involved in the secret “we are the electors” fraudulent conspiracy in the GOP HQ Michigan basement, and associated fellow travellers that helped try to palm this fraudulent elector slate off as some sort of perfectly legal operation. We cannot have pig-headed political conspirators, like these blatant GOP clowns from Michigan, trying to subvert our electoral system for picking US Presidents without severe consequence.

      • Ravenous hoarde says:

        Has anyone seen reporting why they didn’t all follow PA and NM’s lead and put in caveats?

        It seems like their scheming aims are still achieved but without a legal sword hanging over their heads.

        I’m assuming incompetent communication/coordination. Which would be funny since caveat Bobb (in MAL case) was one of the multistate elector coordinators iirc.

        Or Trump threw a ketchup fit when he found out people were adding weasel words?

        Seems like a really stupid silly “oversight” if your fellow schemers figured it out.

  12. RoseGold says:

    Peter Navarro was only ordered by the courts to turn over his emails, a few months ago. He was sued by DOJ for refusing to turn them over to archives. One argument was that the government might use the information to charge him with crimes!

    Regarding the fake certificates, didn’t Navarro once run an online company which sold fake certificates, diplomas and documents?

  13. e.a. foster says:

    Reading the article is like reading a script. If this weren’t so serious, it really could make a great comedy, with these Republicans in a basement signing papers which weren’t legit. How did they think they were going to get away with it? What were they even thinking? Who in their right mind would do anything like that?
    They did it and its nice to know they have been charged. Its going to be a great movie script some day. Its sort of like a 3 stooges movie.

    To try to over turn a lawful election by forging legal documents is so crazy, its still hard to wrap my head around. They must have thought highly of themselves to think they could get away with this.

    If other states take similar actions perhaps they can build a small prison for these “political prisoners” and their leader Trump could join them. Have a geriatric doctor there, their families could visit from time to time.

    Will some of them turn against the others for a lower sentence? Most likely. they were looking for power. They lost, they’re finished. They just don’t want to spend the rest of their remaining lives in prison. They really aren’t going to like the food.

    Thank you for the post. Its all laid out so clearly.

  14. punaise says:

    Like Jack smith, AG Nessel has a stern, take no prisoners visage. Except they do take prisoners. Except they’re not prisoners, they’re defendants.

  15. Dmbeaster says:

    The fake electors scheme should be viewed as the greatest attempted voter fraud in history. Why try to “find” the 11,000+ votes needed in Georgia, or pursue complicated schemes to changes the vote count in Michigan or Arizona? The only votes that count are the votes of the electors. Fake enough of those votes, and you win the election. The GOP faked enough electoral votes to give Trump the win. Describe any other voter fraud of equal magnitude. Hayes/Tilden in 1876 is the only other example.

    Someone wisely told the electors in PA and NM to qualify their certificates as valid only if court cases changed the winner in those states. But fake certificates from five states purported to be real without qualification. The plan was to give them to Pence to gum up the January 6 certification, and send the vote to the House where Trump was certain to win.

    Now its time for Smith to charge the conspirators in DC that orchestrated the whole scheme.

  16. CoffaeBreak says:

    This is a link to the April 2022 Jan 6th interview with Ian Northon; the attorney speaking in that fateful Michigan fake elector video:

    Pages 77 through 85 are where he denies that he knew of the seven other state GOP fake electors were doing the same thing that he was doing. He mentions “his” feelings about the Hawaii 1960 alternate electors and this strategy.

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