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The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot is intensifying its probe into the filing of counterfeit election certificates signed by slates of fake Republican electors for the 2020 presidential election in five states.
The Republican electors falsely declared themselves “duly elected and qualified,” and sent signed certificates to Congress and the National Archives claiming to affirm former President Donald Trump as the winner in five states he had actually lost: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin. All the states had legitimate Democratic electors for Joe Biden, reflecting residents’ votes.
“We want to look at the fraudulent activity that was contained in the preparation of these fake Electoral College certificates,” said House committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Politico reported. “And then we want to look to see to what extent this was part of a comprehensive plan to overthrow the 2020 election.”
“There’s no doubt that those people were engaged in a constitutional fraud on the public and on the democracy,” Raskin told The New York Times, referring to the fake electors.
The select committee is expecting new documents from the National Archives related to the fake electors scheme, according to chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who called the apparent involvement of members of Trump’s circle in the plot a “concern.”
Committee member Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) called the submission of the fake electoral certificates a “dangerous precedent,” according to Politico.
The fake elector slates were apparently intended to be a go-to line-up of Republicans in the event then-Vice President Mike Pence rejected the legitimate electors in states Trump lost, which Trump was pressing him to do on Jan. 6, 2020.
Trump ally and right-wing attorney John Eastman, author of the so-called coup memos, had suggested that Pence, armed with “multiple” elector slates, could introduce the pro-Trump fakes to challenge the legitimate Biden electors in the seven states Trump lost.
Fake documents were also filed in Pennsylvania and New Mexico, but those GOP counterfeits were referred to as “electors in waiting” in case court challenges to Biden’s win were successful. The certificates from the other five states falsely claimed that the pro-Trump electors were the rightful electors.
Officials in some of the states are either investigating the operation, or have referred information to federal prosecutors.
Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel last week called the operation an “open-and-shut case of forgery of a public record.” She asked federal prosecutors to investigate the 16 Michigan Republicans who submitted false certificates.
Nessel called the operation an “attack on the very fabric of our system of government.”
Trump campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn told The Washington Post that the operation was justified given the “rampant fraud” of the election.
There was no rampant fraud. Recounts and scores of court cases confirmed that Biden won.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.