By Katelyn Polantz, Annie Grayer and Holmes Lybrand | CNN
The chairman of the Republican Party in Georgia on Friday told the House select committee investigating the January 6 riot that the Trump campaign had directed the party in 2020 to put forward an alternate slate of electors after then-President Donald Trump lost the state’s vote, according to a person familiar with the testimony.
The Trump campaign’s direct involvement in efforts to put forward so-called “fake” slates of electors in multiple states after Biden’s win was previously reported by CNN, but it was not yet known if anyone involved had spoken about the campaign’s directions to investigators.
The fake electors effort is now seen by the committee as a political disinformation tactic used to sow doubt in Joe Biden’s win before the January 6, 2021, Electoral College vote certification in Washington. CNN previously reported that Trump outside lawyer Rudy Giuliani and the Trump campaign had been involved in organizing illegitimate elector slates in seven states.
David Shafer, chair of the GOP in Georgia, served as one of several bogus electors for Trump and had convened Republicans in the state’s Capitol to put together an alternate elector certification in December 2020. He also was a plaintiff in a long-shot legal attempt for Trump to overturn the election in Georgia.
The scheme ultimately didn’t work, and then-Vice President Mike Pence certified the election results in January last year when the congressional session reconvened after being interrupted by a mob of pro-Trump rioters.
“Acting on the advice of counsel in the election contest, Chairman Shafer convened the Republican nominees for Presidential Elector to cast their votes for President and Vice President for the sole purpose of preserving a remedy in the event the lawsuit succeeded,” his attorney, Bob Driscoll, said in a statement after Shafer’s testimony on Capitol Hill.
“There was nothing secret or surreptitious about the meeting,” Driscoll said. “He and the other Republican Electors were acting provisionally to protect a remedy in the event President Trump ultimately succeeded in the pending contest.”
Trump’s post-election lawsuits were largely considered frivolous and quickly ended in court.
The committee on Friday also heard from another Georgia Republican involved in the alternate elector attempt: Shawn Still, who served as the secretary. Still, who is also represented by Driscoll, was the Georgia GOP’s finance chair and is now running for a Georgia state Senate seat.Driscoll said Shafer and Still were “happy to help the committee understand the events” in December 2020 and defended their actions as reasonable.
Shafer and Still are among 14 Republicans from seven states the committee has subpoenaed for their role in the Trump campaign’s scheme to subvert the Electoral College.
The “alternate” slate of electors has become a big focus not only of the select committee’s investigation but other investigations as well. US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco previously told CNN that the Department of Justice is looking into the effort to determine whether there was any criminal wrongdoing after receiving requests from lawmakers and state officials to investigate.