Michigan Republicans who signed fake Trump electoral certificate could face federal charges: report
President Donald Trump at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster (screengrab)

Sixteen Michigan Republicans who submitted a certificate falsely claiming that Donald Trump won the state's electoral votes in 2020 are now facing a potential federal investigation.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel revealed Thursday night that after a year-long probe into the matter, her office has opted to refer the case to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Michigan.

"I will tell you that we've been evaluating charges for nearly a year now based on these activities," Nessel told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. "I will say that under state law, I think clearly you have forgery of a public record, which is a 14-year offense, and election law forgery, which is a five-year offense. But what we have decided to do with the investigation, in light of the fact that of course we have seen ... various different false slates of electors from several different states, in what seems to be a coordinated effort between the Republican parties in various different states, we think this is a matter that is best investigated and potentially prosecuted by the feds."

Nessel added that she hopes the U.S. Department of Justice will become involved and "use the information they already have to better understand exactly what happened that day, so that federal charges can be evaluated."

"We had thought that it was very possible that we would be bringing charges, and we still might," Nessel said. "Of course there's no double jeopardy if you are to bring both state and federal charges for the same offense. But obviously this is part of a much bigger conspiracy, and our hope is that the federal authorities, the Department of Justice and United States Attorney General Merrick Garland will take this in coordination with all of the information they've received, and make an evaluation as to what charges these individuals might face. I mean, I can think of many — forgery of a public record for the purposes of defrauding the United States, or conspiracy to commit an offense to defraud the United States — and there are so many others, but that will be up to the feds to decide."

According to the Detroit News, Nessel's announcement "demonstrated the potential seriousness and ongoing nature of the investigation and could have repercussions throughout state politics, as the 16 Republicans in question, include high-ranking members of the state GOP, like Co-Chairwoman Meshawn Maddock."

"On Dec. 14, 2020, Michigan's 16 presidential electors met inside the state Capitol to officially cast their ballots for Biden. A group of Republicans, including some of the GOP electors, attempted to enter the building, after meeting at party headquarters, but were blocked by the Michigan State Police," the newspaper reported. "According to a Dec. 14, 2020, memorandum, obtained by The Detroit News, Kathy Berden, a Republican national committeewoman from Michigan, sent the GOP electors certificate to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. archivist, Benson's office and Robert Jonker, the chief judge of U.S. District Court for Michigan's Western District. The 16 Michigan Republicans who signed the certificate inaccurately claimed they were the 'duly elected and qualified electors' for Michigan. They also stated that they 'convened and organized' in the state Capitol, which they did not."

Michigan is one of at least five states where Republicans submitted fake electoral certificates declaring Trump the winner, Maddow reported Wednesday night.

Watch Nessel's announcement below.