Former President Donald Trump has continued to maintain that he won the 2020 election, even as newly discovered evidence would suggest he knew otherwise.
The paper of record noted that the existence of the Dec. 6, 2020, memo first came to light in last week’s federal indictment of Trump, though its details had remained unclear. A copy obtained by The New York Times showed for the first time that the lawyer, Kenneth Chesebro, acknowledged from the start that he was proposed “a bold, controversial strategy” that the Supreme Court “likely” would reject in the end.
Chesebro also suggested that even if the high court rejected the plan, it could potentially achieve two goals. First, it would focus attention on claims of voter fraud, which could “buy the Trump campaign more time to win litigation that would deprive Biden of electoral votes and/or add to Trump’s column.”
Donald Trump: The Missing Piece or a Smoking Gun?
The New York Times also described the memo as a “missing piece in the public record,” one that shows how Trump’s allies developed a strategy to overturn Biden’s victory. The memo laid out how false Trump electors could go through the motions of voting as if they had the authority to do so. Then, on Jan. 6, 2021, then-Vice President Mike Pence could unilaterally count those slates of votes, rather than the official and certified ones for President-Elect Joe Biden.
Prosecutors allege the “fraudulent elector memo” is the critical link that shows how Trump and his allies’ plot morphed into a criminal conspiracy, one that would “derail the proper certification of Biden as president-elect.”
Bold and Controversial is an Understatement
It would appear the goal of the memo was also to sow doubt and confusion.
“I recognize that what I suggest is a bold, controversial strategy, and that there are many reasons why it might not end up being executed on Jan. 6,” Chesebro wrote. “But as long as it is one possible option, to preserve it as a possibility it is important that the Trump-Pence electors cast their electoral votes on Dec. 14.”
The New York Times further reported that it was three days later when Chesebro then drew up specific instructions to create fraudulent electors in multiple states in another memo. The existence of that letter was first reported by the paper last year. The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot also cited them in its December report, but it apparently did not learn of the Dec. 6 memo.
“I believe that what can be achieved on Jan. 6 is not simply to keep Biden below 270 electoral votes,” Chesebro wrote in the newly disclosed memo. “It seems feasible that the vote count can be conducted so that at no point will Trump be behind in the electoral vote count unless and until Biden can obtain a favorable decision from the Supreme Court upholding the Electoral Count Act as constitutional, or otherwise recognizing the power of Congress (and not the president of the Senate) to count the votes.”
The paper of record described the false electors scheme as “perhaps the most sprawling of Mr. Trump’s various efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.” It would have involved lawyers working on his campaign’s behalf across seven states, as well as dozens of electors who would be willing to claim that Trump — not Biden — had won their states, and open resistance from some of those potential electors that the plan could be illegal or even “appear treasonous.”
It has now become the cornerstone of the indictment against the former president. Last week, special counsel Jack Smith charged Trump, who is currently the overwhelming front-runner for the GOP nomination, with four counts in connection with his attempts to overturn the 2020 election.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.