DOJ should investigate if Trump was involved in voting machine breaches: analysis
Donald Trump at the Elysee Palace. (Frederic Legrand - COMEO /

Former President Donald Trump is facing an avalanche of legal problems, including criminal charges in Manhattan and state and federal investigations over the schemes to disrupt the 2020 presidential election.

But there's another issue the Justice Department should be investigating, argued Ben Clements and Susan Greenhalgh for Slate on Wednesday: whether the former president was involved in the plots to tamper with voting machines around the country.

"After Jan. 6, reports emerged of Trump supporters’ efforts to gain access to voting systems and software in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Colorado. Many assumed these incidents were unconnected — just overzealous Trump supporters freelancing in different states to support their fervent belief in the Big Lie," wrote Clements and Greenhalgh. "More recently, evidence uncovered by plaintiffs in a Georgia lawsuit indicates that these incidents were part of the broader scheme to falsely cast doubt on, and overturn, the 2020 election."

In one of the most famous examples, Mesa County, Colorado election clerk Tina Peters — an ally of MyPillow CEO and pro-Trump election conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell — was charged for breaching election equipment in an attempt to prove the election was stolen.

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"This evidence tying Trump’s campaign to multiple software breaches, uncovered in the civil lawsuit, was publicly reported in late summer and fall of 2022, when the Jan. 6 Committee had already taken many key depositions and was winding down its work," they wrote. "Unfortunately, this timing may have prevented the committee from thoroughly probing or reporting on the voting system breaches. But our review of the committee’s testimony establishes that the unlawful scheme to copy voting system software in multiple states went straight to the top — Trump himself. During a now-infamous December 18, 2020 Oval Office meeting with Trump attended by Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and others — during which Powell advocated the federal government seizing voting machines — Giuliani offered an alternative plan, promising that he was 'going to be able to secure access to voting machines in Georgia through means other than seizure.'"

There is, concluded Clements and Greenhalgh, "no excuse" for not opening a federal investigation into how complicit Trump may have been in all of this.

"Aside from exposing unlawful efforts to overturn the last presidential election, a thorough federal investigation is needed to uncover any ongoing threats posed by these security breaches to future elections and inform federal efforts to protect elections in the future. Our democracy is in the balance," they concluded.