One likely defense in phony electors case points directly to the White House: legal expert
Donald Trump speaks from the White House's Oval Office (CNN/screen grab)

The Department of Justice is investigating a scheme by Donald Trump's allies to submit phony elector certificates to Congress and the National Archives, but one likely defense will further implicate the White House.

Deputy attorney general Lisa Monaco revealed that prosecutors were looking into the scheme in ongoing investigation, and legal expert Philip Rotner broke down some of the possible defenses that for the case in a new column for The Bulwark.

The claim that the phony electors were the 'duly elected and qualified' electors from their respective states was blatantly false and almost certainly criminal under a wide range of state and federal laws," wrote Rotner, a veteran attorney.

The plot was obviously coordinated between officials in five states lost by Trump, and there's "unmistakeable evidence" that the phony certificates were intended to overturn the results of the 2020 election, and Rotner said the scheme appeared to go all the way to the top.

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"While it is possible — however unlikely — that some of the electors might be able to convince prosecutors that they were duped into believing that this was merely a backup plan, that will only strengthen the case against those higher in the chain who lied to them," he wrote.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani reportedly oversaw the scheme, which involved other top campaign officials, and the former president and his top advisers, including conservative attorney John Eastman, publicly encouraged the phony electors scheme.

"Only those at the very bottom of the chain of command — the pseudo-electors themselves — might have some basis to assert a 'it was just a backup [plan]' defense," Rotner wrote. "Giuliani won’t. Eastman won’t. Trump won’t."

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