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Jan. 6 committee subpoenas state officials involved in trying to overturn 2020 election

·Chief National Correspondent
·3 min read
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The Jan. 6 select committee on Tuesday subpoenaed three Republican state officials, from Arizona and Pennsylvania, who sought to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The committee issued subpoenas to Douglas Mastriano, a state senator from Pennsylvania; Mark Finchem, a state legislator from Arizona who is currently running for the job that oversees state elections there; and Kelli Ward, the current chair of the Arizona Republican Party.

At center, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), chair of the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol, speaks during a committee meeting on Capitol Hill on December 1, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Rep. Bennie Thompson, center, chair of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, speaks during a committee meeting, Dec. 1, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In summoning the three Republicans, the committee is seeking information about one issue in particular: the effort to send “alternate electors” to Congress after the 2020 election from states where Trump lost. This was an attempt by Trump loyalists to throw out the legitimately elected electors and replace them with electors loyal to Trump.

It’s a means of electoral subversion that politicians could attempt again in the future. Members of Congress are currently working on ways to make it harder for people to use strong-arm tactics like this to overturn valid election results.

Ward, for example, sent text messages to Republican election officials in Maricopa County, Arizona’s largest jurisdiction, in which she said, “We need you to stop the counting.” When that effort failed, she was part of the effort to send a fraudulent slate of electors to Congress in hopes it could be used to overturn the result on Jan. 6, 2021.

“On December 14, 2020, you apparently acted as a purported Electoral College elector to meet and ultimately transmit to Congress a set of alternate Electoral College votes, which you described as ‘represent[ing] the legal voters of Arizona,’” the committee wrote in its letter to Ward.

Trump supporters storm the Capitol
Trump supporters storm the Capitol following a rally with the then president on Jan. 6, 2021. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

And on Jan. 6, as a mob rampaged through the Capitol and assaulted police officers, Ward tweeted that the riot should be used to change the election result. “Congress is adjourned. Send the elector choice back to the legislatures,” she wrote.

Mastriano was also allegedly part of an effort to appoint fake electors to Congress to undo the 2020 result.

“We are introducing a Resolution to exercise our obligation and authority to appoint delegates to the Electoral College,” he wrote on Nov. 28, 2020. He was later present at the Jan. 6 rally on the National Mall where Trump told his supporters to march to the Capitol. There is no evidence that Mastriano participated in the assault on the Capitol.

Finchem, meanwhile, was one of the most outspoken purveyors of discredited theories for how Trump might have been cheated in the 2020 election. He traveled to Washington on Jan. 5 to try to show then-Vice President Mike Pence an “evidence book” demonstrating reasons to delay certification of the election.

Former President Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump at an Arizona rally last month. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Finchem attended the Jan. 6 rallies and, although he has denied having taken part in any violence, he spread the falsehood that “individuals believed to be Antifa had breached an area of the Capitol building.”

Finchem posted a tweet on Jan. 6 from outside the Capitol with a photo of Trump supporters on the steps of the building. Finchem said that it was “what happens when the People feel they have been ignored, and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud.”