Why Rudy Giuliani's fake electors scheme was so dangerous to democracy

CNN reported Thursday that Rudy Giuliani, former attorney for Donald Trump and New York City mayor, led an effort to recruit and install fake electors in seven swing states, a direct attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 选举.

I reached out to two of the authors of the pieceMarshall Cohen扎卡里·科恩(Zachary Cohen) (no relation) — to explain exactly what they found and why it matters so much.
Our conversationconducted via email and lightly edited for flowis below.
    Cillizza: Let’s start simple: 什么, 究竟, did Rudy Giuliani (and his team) 如果你还没有尝试过? And what was their goal?
      Cohen/Cohen: By December 2020, Trump had already lost the election but the electoral votes from each state still had to be certified. Giuliani and his team effectively tried to subvert that process in an effort to overturn Biden’s legitimate victorya push that involved replacing real electors from seven states Trump lost with GOP electors.
        Giuliani and his team enlisted GOP allies from these states to sign certificates falsely claiming they were the duly-elected electorseven though they were not.
        After various election fraud lawsuits in these states failed, Giuliani and his team shifted their focus to January 6. The idea, as outlined in a memo written by conservative lawyer John Eastman, was for then-Vice President Mike Pence to throw out President Joe Biden’s electors and replace them with the GOP electors on January 6 when Congress counted the electoral votes.
          这个, 理论上, would give Trump more electoral votes than Biden and allow him to maintain his grip on power.
          Cillizza: How detailed was this plan? How far down the rabbit hole did they go?
          Cohen/Cohen: This plan was very detailed, and our sources made clear Giuliani and Trump campaign officials were intimately involved. They tried to recruit GOP electors to fill the slots needed to put forward analternate slate,” secured meeting rooms in statehouses where the GOP electors could meet on December 14 and circulated drafts of these fake certificates that falsely declared Trump had won.

          Trump campaign officials and GOP electors from at least one state, 宾夕法尼亚州, even haggled over the language of these fake certificates in the immediate lead up to December 14.
          Cillizza: What do we know about Trump’s involvement? Was he aware of what Rudy was doing?
          Cohen/Cohen: 老实说, we don’t know if Trump was involved in the behind-the-scenes efforts. It would have been strange for the President of the United States to be involved with these nuts-and-bolts details of the operationbut we know that Trump campaign officials, on the national and state level, were involved.
          But we do know that on a zoomed-out level, Trump publicly supported and encouraged the scheme. There are a few examples of Trump advocating for state legislatures in many of these battleground states to overturn their election results, by recognizing the legitimacy of the pro-Trump electors. Trump kept pressing the state legislatures to spring into action and appoint GOP electors, in states where Biden won. He mentioned this at a rally in Georgia for the Senate runoff races, and he mentioned it again at the infamous speech on the Ellipse before his supporters invaded the US Capitol on January 6.
          Cillizza: Tell me about how these fake elector slates wound up at the National Archivesand why it’s significant.
          Cohen/Cohen: Lots of people assume that the “选举” ends after the networks project a winner. But obviously, that’s not the case. The transfer of power from one US president to the next is spelled out in the US Constitution and various federal laws. It all works through theElectoral College.
          The people go to the polls in November. Then the state counts the votes and certifies the results. The state awards its electoral votes to the candidate who won. Then those electors meet in the statehouse at a designated date in December, where they sign certificates to finalize the process. It’s a formality. They sign the certificates and send copies to the National Archives in DC, and to several other government entities, like the chief judge of the federal district court where the electors met. The National Archives processes the official certificates and then the real certificates are opened and counted during a joint session of Congress on January 6.
          The fake certificates are important because some legal experts, and some state attorneys general, are now saying that it might have been illegal for the GOP electors to send fake documents to the National Archives. (要清楚, the people who were involved in the plot, who have spoken publicly, deny any wrongdoing.)
          Cillizza: Finish this sentence: “The threat to the 2020 election results from this scheme was __________. ” 现在, explain.
            Cohen/Cohen: “The threat to the 2020 election results from this scheme was that it was literally an attempt to nullify the will of the people of millions of voters in seven states — 宾夕法尼亚州, 佐治亚州, 密西根州, 威斯康星州, 亚利桑那, Nevada and New Mexico.
            Biden won those states, but the Trump campaign tried to exploit the Electoral College process to undo Biden’s victory. 多于 13 million Americans voted for Biden in those states. Trump got millions of votes too, but not enough to beat Biden. So Biden was entitled to the 84 electoral votes from these seven states. 记得, 84 electoral votes is a big deal. You only need 270 to win. 所以, 84 is about one-third of all the electoral votes needed to clinch the presidency. Team Trump attempted to usurp that Electoral College process and, 毫不夸张的说, steal the election in those states. Nullifying elections, in this fashion, is nothing short of an attempted coup.

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