‘Bumbling consigliere’ Giuliani exposed dozens of seasoned GOP operatives to legal liability: report
Rudy Giuliani, photo by Gage Skidmore.

Rudy Giuliani served as Associate Attorney General and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York during the Reagan administration, but his legal maneuvering as part of Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election has reportedly exposed dozens of top Republican operatives to legal liability.

"As some would have it, former President Donald Trump’s attempt to steal the 2020 election was really no big deal," David Graham wrote for The Atlantic. "These defenses are weak—true, the election was not overturned, but that was in fact the goal—and they are getting weaker each day. As more information trickles out from the House January 6 panel, in court, and in press reports, one rattling revelation is just how many people were in on the coup attempt. The plotters might have been grasping at straws, and they might have been ragtag and disorganized, but they were not just a handful of fringe actors. They were a whole corps."

He noted that 59 phony electors were submitted on behalf of the Trump campaign. In Arizona, the fake document was signed by eleven people. Sixteen signed it in each Georgia and Michigan. Six were submitted from Nevada and another ten from Wisconsin. The number rises to 83 if provisional fake electors submitted by New Mexico (5) and Pennsylvania (20) are included.

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"Now, however, the phony electors have become a focus for the House January 6 committee, The Washington Post reports, and the Justice Department is also reviewing the scheme, a top official told CNN. Among the new revelations is just how closely Trump-campaign officials and the president’s loyal but bumbling consigliere Rudy Giuliani were enmeshed in the ploy," he wrote. "The new information is important because it once again underscores that the most dangerous parts of Trump’s election-fraud operation were not the ill-conceived riots but the legal machinations before and on January 6, what I’ve called the “paperwork coup.” Tying the fake electors to the Trump campaign and figures like Giuliani could help rectify the uncomfortable dynamic in which foot soldiers have been prosecuted while kingpins remain unscathed."

Multiple state attorneys general have submitted criminal referrals to the Department of Justice over the scheme, which Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said are being reviewed as part of "ongoing investigations."

"The renewed attention to the phony electors also helps fill in the picture of how large the election-theft push was. On the surface, the whole maneuver looks like the province of a few wild-eyed figures: Trump, Eastman, Giuliani, the attorneys Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell, Jeffrey Clark, and Mike Lindell. As more information emerges, though, the size of the front grows," he wrote. "A total of 83 phony electors were submitted—and most electors are deeply involved in party politics at the local or state level, meaning these were not simply random Republican voters but seasoned political activists and operators. The list of other participants in the broader effort has continued to grow too. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’s role was larger than initially understood. The public has met a series of other players: Philip Waldron, an Army veteran turned cybersecurity investigator; the businessman Russell Ramsland; the Overstock.com founder Patrick Byrne; the professional bad penny Bernard Kerik; and members of Congress such as Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania."

Read the full analysis.

CNN graphic showing geographic distribution of Trump alternate electors.Screengrab.