Investigators subpoena fake Georgia presidential ‘electors’

Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer is one of two people in Georgia subpoenaed by a congressional committee investigating the events that led to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Nathan Posner for The Atlanta-Journal-Constitution

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Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer is one of two people in Georgia subpoenaed by a congressional committee investigating the events that led to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Nathan Posner for The Atlanta-Journal-Constitution

A congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol issued subpoenas Friday to “alternative” presidential electors in Georgia and other states who falsely claimed then-President Donald Trump defeated Joe Biden.

The House select committee subpoenaed Georgia GOP Chair David Shafer and then-party secretary Shawn Still, along with fake electors in six other states, said U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, the panel’s chair. Neither of the Georgia Republicans was immediately available to comment.

Thompson said the committee seeks information involving the “planning and coordination of efforts to send false slates of electors to the National Archives.”

“We believe the individuals we have subpoenaed today have information about how these so-called alternate electors met and who was behind that scheme,” Thompson said in a statement. “We encourage them to cooperate with the Select Committee’s investigation to get answers about January 6th for the American people and help ensure nothing like that day ever happens again.”

ExploreInside the campaign to undermine Georgia’s election

Biden won Georgia’s 16 electoral votes by a narrow margin over Trump. But Trump spent weeks trying to overturn Biden’s victory in court and in Congress.

Alternative slates of presidential electors in Georgia and other states played a key role in Trump’s failed plans to persuade Vice President Mike Pence to reject Biden’s victory when Congress convened to ratify the election results on Jan. 6, 2021.

Trump hoped to persuade Pence to accept the alternative electors or, barring that, to allow the House of Representatives or state legislatures to pick the president under rules that would favor Trump’s reelection. Pence concluded that he did not have the legal authority to do that.

Even as the 16 official presidential electors met at the Georgia Capitol to cast their votes for Biden on Dec. 14, 2020, an alternative slate of Republican electors met and voted 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.

ExploreWhy fake Trump 'electors' from Georgia could face legal scrutiny

Shafer has said the Georgia alternative electors met and voted to preserve Trump’s legal rights in an election lawsuit pending at the time.

Legal experts told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week that the Trump electors may have violated state and federal laws against false statements, forgery, racketeering and election fraud.

The fake electors already face legal scrutiny. The Justice Department said this week that prosecutors are reviewing the false Electoral College documents to determine whether the electors committed crimes. And the Georgians could face an investigation from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is investigating Trump’s attempt to reverse his defeat.

Willis, who hasn’t commented on the possible expansion of the inquiry, recently won approval for a special grand jury with broad powers to subpoena witnesses and compel the production of documents and information.

The U.S. House of Representatives select committee is investigating the events that led to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol that day, temporarily disrupting Congress’ tally of Electoral College votes.

The attack sent members of Congress, employees and journalists into hiding. About140 police officers were injured, and one died the next day after suffering strokes.

Two Trump supporters died of heart attacks, while another — Rosanne Boyland of Kennesaw — died of an accidental overdose. One — Ashli Babbitt — was shot and killed by police.

Georgia 2020 election investigation

Between the Nov. 3 presidential election and Jan. 6, Georgia was at the center of the biggest election dispute of modern American history. AJC reporters worked day and night for months to capture the election results and multiple recounts, allegations of fraud, investigations, legislative hearings, lawsuits, protests, rallies, press conferences. Here are stories from our ongoing coverage.

The committee issued subpoenas to the chair and secretary of the alternative electors from seven states Biden won: Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In each state, an alternative slate of electors met to cast votes for Trump.

The subpoenas seek information about each person’s role in the Trump electoral slates.

“The existence of these purported alternative-elector votes was used as a justification to delay or block the certification of the election during the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” the subpoenas state. “Accordingly, the select committee seeks documents and a deposition regarding these matters that are within the scope of the select committee’s inquiry.”

Staff writer Tia Mitchell contributed to this article.

Read the subpoena letter sent to David Schafer: