Jan. 6 panel subpoenas six people tied to pro-Trump fake electors plan

By: - February 15, 2022 4:57 pm

The U.S. Capitol on January 06, 2021(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol issued subpoenas Tuesday for six people — including two high ranking officials in former President Donald Trump’s failed reelection campaign  — involved in planning slates of fake electors.

Chairman Bennie G. Thompson said in a statement the panel is “seeking records and testimony from former campaign officials and other individuals” who had relevant information about plans to select alternative electors. Those bogus electors claimed Trump won states he had, in fact, lost.

“The Select Committee has heard from more than 550 witnesses, and we expect these six individuals to cooperate as well as we work to tell the American people the full story about the violence of January 6th and its causes,” the Mississippi Democrat said.

Among those who were subpoenaed were Michael Roman and Gary Michael Brown, who were director and deputy director of Trump’s election day operations team. “They reportedly participated in efforts to promote allegations of fraud in the November 2020 election and encourage state legislators to appoint false ‘alternate, slates of electors,” reads the statement issued by the January 6 panel Tuesday.

Also subpoenaed were Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward, Arizona state Rep. Mark Finchem, former Michigan Republican Chair Laura Cox and Pennsylvania GOP state Sen. Doug Mastriano.

The subpoenas are part of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol’s efforts to gain a clearer understanding of why GOP officials and politicians in states Trump lost signed certificates for fake electors who attempted to declare Trump the victor.

The six subpoenas issued Tuesday come less than a month after the select committee issued subpoenas for 14 people – two from Nevada and the six other states where fake electors sent phony electoral college votes to Congress following the 2020 presidential election. The two Nevadans subpoenaed were Nevada State Republican Party Michael McDonald and state party vice chairman James Degraffenreid.

The fake signing ceremonies in Nevada and the other states in December 2020 were initially viewed as little more than a political stunt. But the fake electors began receiving renewed interest when the select committee last month revealed it was looking into the documents as evidence of a possible coordinated conspiracy involving the Trump administration itself.

In the letter to Ward, the select committee said she “apparently spoke with former President Trump and members of his staff about election certification issues in Arizona.”

She also allegedly sent text messages to an Arizona election official stating “we need you to stop the counting” and telling the person to contact a lawyer for the Trump campaign after The Associated Press and Fox News declared President Joe Biden the winner of its Electoral College votes.

The select committee has already issued a subpoena for Ward and her husband’s cell phone records from Nov. 1, 2020, through Jan. 31, 2021. Ward has sued in federal court in an attempt to block her cell phone company, T-Mobile, from turning over the records.

Finchem, who was outside the Capitol on Jan. 6 and attended a QAnon conspiracy theory convention in Las Vegas, was allegedly involved in an array of activities following the 2020 election.

The panel wrote to Cox that it would like information about how she reportedly witnessed Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani pressuring “state lawmakers to disregard election results in Michigan” and saying that “certifying the election results would be a ‘criminal act.’”

Mastriano, who is running in Pennsylvania’s Republican gubernatorial primary, reportedly spoke with Trump following the election while Mastriano was participating in plans to select alternate electors to falsely claim the state’s Electoral College votes belonged to Trump.

“We understand you participated in these activities based on assertions of voter fraud and other asserted irregularities and based on a stated belief that under the U.S. Constitution the ‘state legislature has the sole authority to direct the manner of selecting delegates to the Electoral College,’” the committee wrote. “We have an interest in understanding these activities and the theories that motivated them.”

The select committee wrote to Brown and Roman that it would like to discuss various false statements they made about Trump winning the 2020 election as well as their efforts to select fake electors.

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Jennifer Shutt
Jennifer Shutt

Jennifer covers the nation’s capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Her coverage areas include congressional policy, politics and legal challenges with a focus on health care, unemployment, housing and aid to families.