On Thursday, CNN reported that Justice Department investigators have interviewed Republicans in Georgia about whether they had any contacts with former President Donald Trump's campaign, as part of the growing probe into whether a crime was committed in the plot to submit slates of fake "electors" declaring Trump won states he did not win.
"In one case, FBI agents asked a prominent Georgia Republican whether he had direct conversations with Trump," reported Katelyn Polantz. "'They just asked who talked to me. If anyone from the Trump campaign had been in touch with me. Did Giuliani talk to me? Did Trump talk to me?' said Patrick Gartland, who was set to serve as an elector but dropped out. He recounted how two FBI agents visited his home in Marietta, Georgia, a few weeks ago."
"Investigators have sought answers this month from Gartland and others connected to the GOP in Georgia — both in FBI interviews and in grand jury subpoenas for documents and testimony," said the report. "Investigators are looking at whether the Trump campaign played a role in the submission of false election certificates, according to people approached by the Justice Department."
The fake electors plot was spearheaded by pro-Trump attorney John Eastman, who laid out a plan whereby then-Vice President Mike Pence would declare all the Biden-won states with "alternate" Trump electors to be disputed, not count their votes during the gaveling of the electoral college, and declare Trump the winner. Legal experts broadly considered this scheme to be illegal, as did Pence himself.
"The subpoenas issued to Gartland and others are seeking communications with 'any member, employee or agent of Donald J. Trump or any organization advocating in favor of the 2020 re-election of Donald J. Trump,' including his official campaign," said the report. "The subpoenas also seek any communications with more than two dozen named Trump campaign officials, attorneys and Georgia electors. CNN reported Wednesday that a recent subpoena related to the alternate electors sought communications with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Trump campaign lawyer Justin Clark, right-wing attorney John Eastman and others."
According to the report, the case hinges on whether the fake electors truly believed Trump won and the election was in dispute, or if they knew they had lost and their scheme was an act of fraud — which could mean more obvious criminal liability for the actors involved.
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