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Fake Trump Electors Told to Keep Their Activities Secret

Certifications by the real 2020 Georgia presidential electors, while the fake Trump electors met nearby. Photo: Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg via Getty Images

We hear many conflicting claims about what the participants in the January 6, 2021, insurrection thought they were doing. Did Republicans in various states who were doing the prep work for Trump’s efforts to steal the election know that what they were doing might be construed someday as a criminal conspiracy to subvert the Constitution? Or were they trying to protect what they viewed as the legitimate democratic process, however ignorantly? To put it another way, were they Donald Trump’s dupes, or his accomplices?

One important bit of evidence is whether they acted like they were engaged in something that was highly inappropriate, if not illegal. In one case that has now come to light, Trump’s agents were unquestionably trying to hide their tracks, as the Washington Post reports:

A staffer for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign instructed Republicans planning to cast electoral college votes for Trump in Georgia despite Joe Biden’s victory to operate in “complete secrecy,” an email obtained by The Washington Post shows.

“I must ask for your complete discretion in this process,” wrote Robert Sinners, the campaign’s election operations director for Georgia, the day before the 16 Republicans gathered at the Georgia Capitol to sign certificates declaring themselves duly elected. “Your duties are imperative to ensure the end result — a win in Georgia for President Trump — but will be hampered unless we have complete secrecy and discretion.”

Observers may differ as to whether the fake electors obeyed the instructions to keep their proceedings secret. One of them, state GOP chairman David Shafer, claims he invited TV cameras into the session. And at the time, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a photo of the door in the State Capitol behind which they met:

But if the Trump campaign was trying to keep the meeting (and others like it in other states) under wraps, it might contribute to the impression of a coordinated assault on the process set out in the U.S. Constitution and the Electoral Count Act of 1887 for designating presidential election. The topic has drawn interest from both federal and local prosecutors, notes the Post:

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco confirmed in January that the Justice Department is investigating whether what she termed “fraudulent elector certifications” violated federal law. In Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is investigating whether the appointment of fake Trump electors broke state law, said two people familiar with the probe, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive law enforcement matters.

Some of the fake electors and their would-be Trump campaign handlers may retreat to the Keystone Kops defense that they were too poorly organized to conspire to do anything. But the more they profess innocence, the more you have to wonder if they believe the events of January 6 — both the attempted insurrection by rioters and the attempted election coup by Republican members of Congress — occurred spontaneously.

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Fake Trump Electors Told to Keep Their Activities Secret