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Giuliani accused of helping orchestrate forged documents scheme

We knew Republicans in multiple states created forged election materials. We didn't know who coordinated the scheme. Now we do.

We've known for weeks that Republicans in multiple states created forged election materials, pretending to be "duly elected and qualified electors," and sent the documents to, among others, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. Archivist, as if the materials were legitimate. They were not.

We've also come to learn that these Republicans were not acting independently. The fake documents had identical formatting, spacing, fonts, and phrasing, leaving little doubt that there was a template for Republicans to follow in each of these states.

What's remained unclear was who, exactly, coordinated the scheme. Yesterday, the details came into focus. CNN reported that it was Trump campaign officials, "led by Rudy Giuliani," who oversaw the efforts. In fact, according to the reporting, the former New York City mayor and his team took a direct and hands-on role.

Giuliani and his allies coordinated the nuts-and-bolts of the process on a state-by-state level, the sources told CNN. One source said there were multiple planning calls between Trump campaign officials and GOP state operatives, and that Giuliani participated in at least one call. The source also said the Trump campaign lined up supporters to fill elector slots, secured meeting rooms in statehouses for the fake electors to meet on December 14, 2020, and circulated drafts of fake certificates that were ultimately sent to the National Archives.

CNN's report added that Giuliani and Trump campaign officials "actively choreographed the process" behind the scenes.

The Washington Post had a related report, which included some key new details.

Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, told The Post that Giuliani and his associates forwarded letters ... arguing the Trump electors should be recognized [instead of the legitimate electors]. Short and Pence's legal team reviewed the unsolicited letters but were not persuaded there was any legal basis to accept Trump electors who had not been certified by their states, Short said.

This is notable in large part because it helps bring clarity to the scope of the scheme: Republicans not only forged election materials, and tried to pass them off to government agencies as if they were real, they also had Giuliani lobbying the then-vice president's office to accept fake electors as real electors.

It's worth emphasizing that both of these new reports indicate that while Giuliani was directly involved in executing the scheme, he partnered with "his associates" and "Trump campaign officials." There's ample evidence to bolster this point.

Indeed, there's literally a recording of a Trump campaign official calling a state legislator in Michigan, seeking cooperation with the Republicans' anti-election plot.

The pieces are clearly coming together, though there's no reason to assume that the revelations will stop. The Post's report noted, "Understanding the origins of the rival slates has now become a focus of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection," and CNN's report added that the panel's chairman, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson told reporters yesterday the committee "is looking into whether there was a broader conspiracy or involvement from the Trump White House in the creation or submission of these fake electors."

Meanwhile, there are also developments in some of the states in which the pro-Trump scheme took root.

In Nevada, Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak told a local CBS affiliate, "If they sent fraudulent or fake [electoral votes], absolutely a crime was committed and that's up to the attorney general to decide what he's going to do in terms of filing charges or prosecuting. Our democracy is at stake. You can't have people filing false reports and fake certifications." To that end, Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford issued a statement this week that read in part, "[R]est assured that this matter is on our radar."

In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee County district attorney examined the issue and referred it to state law enforcement for additional scrutiny.

And in Michigan and New Mexico, state attorneys general have referred the controversy to federal prosecutors.

Watch this space.