Georgia GOP chairman speaks to Jan. 6 investigators in Congress

Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer and another party official spoke Friday with a congressional committee investigating the events that led to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. (File photo by Nathan Posner for the Atlanta-Journal-Constitution)

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Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer and another party official spoke Friday with a congressional committee investigating the events that led to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. (File photo by Nathan Posner for the Atlanta-Journal-Constitution)

Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer testified Friday before a congressional committee investigating the events that led to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Shafer’s attorney confirmed that he and former Georgia GOP Secretary Shawn Still spoke in private to the House select committee investigating the attack. The committee recently subpoenaed the pair to testify about the “alternative” slate of Republican presidential electors they organized in Georgia in December 2020.

The committee is investigating the role of the false electors in the events that led to the Jan. 6 attack, and the U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether they committed any crimes.

“Although we believe the subpoena issued by the Select Committee is unenforceable under House Rules, Chairman Shafer and Mr. Still were happy to help the committee understand the events of December 14, 2020, and correct errors in the renewed media coverage of those events,” attorney Bob Driscoll wrote in a statement issued to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Democrat Joe Biden defeated then-President Donald Trump by a narrow margin — a victory confirmed by two recounts. But Trump continues to claim falsely that fraud cost him the election in Georgia. Those claims have been proved false by numerous investigations.

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The state’s official presidential electors met at the Georgia Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, to cast their ballots for Biden. That same day, a slate of “alternative” Republican electors also met at the state Capitol to cast their ballots for Trump.

They later submitted official-looking documents to state and federal authorities, claiming they were the “duly elected” presidential electors and Trump had won Georgia — even though they had no authority.

When the fake electors were discovered by the news media, a Republican official initially gave a false explanation for the meeting, saying it was “educational.” After the vote, Shafer said they were merely preserving Trump’s legal options in case he was successful in his effort to overturn the election in court.

Trump and his supporters lost numerous Georgia lawsuits, and he withdrew his remaining challenges after Jan. 6. At that point, “the possible need for provisional presidential electors was moot,” Driscoll said in his statement.

Shafer and Still were recently subpoenaed in their role as chair and secretary of the Republican presidential electors, along with representatives of false electoral slates in six other states Biden won.

The committee is investigating the role the false electors played in Trump’s efforts to overturn the election in the weeks leading up to Jan. 6. Citing discredited legal theories, Trump claimed Vice President Mike Pence could refuse to recognize the official Biden electors when Congress met to certify the results on Jan. 6.

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Citing legal advice, Pence refused to participate in the scheme. Hundreds of Trump supporters attacked the Capitol, disrupting the peaceful transfer of power.

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether the false electors committed crimes. Some legal experts believe they violated state and federal laws against false statements, forgery, racketeering and election fraud.

Staff writers Greg Bluestein and Tia Mitchell contributed to this article.