Criminal probe into Trump’s fake voters reaches new level

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We learned months ago that Republicans in several states created fake election documents after Donald Trump’s 2020 defeat, posing as “duly elected and qualified voters.” The Republicans then sent the documents to, among others, the US Senate and the US Archivist, as if the forged documents were legitimate. They were not.

Among the unanswered questions is what kind of scrutiny the plan — and the people responsible for carrying out the plan — might receive.

Updating our previous coverage, the answer continues to be sharper. The National Archives, for example, has its own team of investigators, who started a review in at least part of the effort to submit falsified documents to the institution. State attorneys general have also taken a keen interest in the scandal, as has the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. Since last week, there is even a civil dimension to this.

But the Justice Department investigation is perhaps the most important for those at risk of being held accountable.

At the end of January, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco confirmed that the Ministry of Justice was “studying” the file, as part of an “ongoing” investigation. According to a New York Times report released this afternoon, federal investigators have “enhanced” their criminal investigation.

A federal grand jury in Washington began issuing subpoenas in recent weeks to people connected to the Alternative Voter Plan, seeking information on several lawyers, including Mr. Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani and one of his chief legal advisers, John Eastman, one of the people said. The subpoenas also seek information on other pro-Trump lawyers like Jenna Ellis, who worked with Mr. Giuliani, and Kenneth Chesebro, who wrote memos supporting the election platform in the weeks after the elections.

Times reporting has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News. That said, these apparent revelations should probably make members of the Trump team rather nervous.

Remember, it was in early February that the public first began to learn how directly the former president’s team was tied to the bogus voter scheme. The New York Times reported at the time about a Trump campaign attorney in Wisconsin receiving a memo in November 2020 “outlining what has become the rationale for a bold strategy: implementing alternative voter rolls in states where President Donald J. Trump was trying to undo his loss.”

This memo, sent just two weeks after Election Day 2020, was written by Kenneth Chesebro, a Trump lawyer referenced in today’s report. Three weeks later, the same Trump lawyer sent a second memoshortly before real voters cast their ballots, offering a step-by-step guide on what fake voters should do.

He is obviously not alone. Eastman allegedly contacted state lawmakers, misinforming them that they had the authority to certify fake voters, while Giuliani was accused of helping coordinate the fake voters program.

And now, if the Times report is correct, a federal grand jury has issued subpoenas. Watch this place.

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