January 6 committee subpoenas individuals tied to fake elector push

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By Ryan Nobles, Marshall Cohen, Zachary Cohen and Annie Grayer, CNN

The January 6 Select Committee has issued subpoenas for 14 Republicans from seven states who served on bogus slates of Trump electors in 2020 as part of the Trump campaign’s scheme to subvert the Electoral College.

The GOP leaders from the states served as “Chair” and “Secretary” on the slates of fake electors designed to be alternates should Republicans succeed in denying the certifications of the actual electoral votes that were won by Joe Biden.

The scheme didn’t work, and then-Vice President Mike Pence certified the election results on January 6 when the congressional session reconvened after being interrupted by a mob of pro-Trump rioters.

“The Select Committee is seeking information about attempts in multiple states to overturn the results of the 2020 election, including the planning and coordination of efforts to send false slates of electors to the National Archives” said Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the committee, of this batch of subpoenas. “We believe the individuals we have subpoenaed today have information about how these so-called alternate electors met and who was behind that scheme.”

The committee subpoenaed the following people:

  • Nancy Cottle and Loraine Pellegrino from Arizona. Cottle is listed on the Arizona Federation of Republican Women’s website as being the group’s vice president.
  • David Shafer and Shawn Still from Georgia. Shafer is the chair of the Georgia GOP and was a plaintiff in some of Trump’s longshot lawsuits to overturn the election in Georgia. Still was the Georgia GOP’s finance chair and is now running for a Georgia Senate seat.
  • Kathy Berden and Mayra Rodriguez from Michigan. Berden was a national committeewoman at the Republican National Committee and served as a Trump delegate at the 2016 GOP convention. Rodriguez unsuccessfully ran for a Michigan House seat in 2020.
  • Jewll Powdrell and Deborah Maestas from New Mexico. Powdrell recently told the Albuquerque Journal that he signed the fake certificate at the behest of former Rep. Steve Pearce, the head of the New Mexico GOP. Maestas previously served in that role, leading the state GOP.
  • Michael McDonald and James DeGraffenreid from Nevada. McDonald is the Nevada GOP chairman and reportedly promoted false voter fraud claims in 2020. DeGraffenreid’s Facebook page says he is a national committeeman from Nevada for the RNC.
  • The committee subpoenaed Bill Bachenberg and Lisa Patton from Pennsylvania. Bachenberg is a board member of the National Rifle Association and spoke at a pro-Donald Trump fundraiser in 2020.
  • Andrew Hitt and Kelly Ruh from Wisconsin. Hitt is the former chairman of the Wisconsin GOP and a staffer for former Gov. Scott Walker. Ruh is currently an alderperson from the city of De Pere.

The “alternate” slate of electors has become a big focus not only of Select Committee’s investigation but other investigations as well. US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco told CNN this week that the Department of Justice is looking into the effort to determine if there was any criminal wrongdoing after receiving requests from lawmakers and state officials to investigate.

The effort to file the fake electoral slates had direct ties to the Trump campaign. CNN has reported that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani coordinated the effort among the Republicans in the seven states to create the bogus certifications that were ultimately sent to the National Archives.

One source said there were multiple planning calls between Trump campaign officials and GOP state operatives, and that Giuliani participated in at least one call. The source also said the Trump campaign lined up supporters to fill the elector slots, secured meeting rooms in statehouses for them to meet on December 14, 2020, and circulated drafts of the fake certificates.

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