'Forgery of a public record': Michigan AG requests federal probe of Republicans who faked election records

'Forgery of a public record': Michigan AG requests federal probe of Republicans who faked election records
Dana Nessel

This week, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has been reporting extensively on Republicans who, following the 2020 presidential election, circulated fake “Electoral College” documents in states that now-President Joe Biden won while falsely claiming that then-President Donald Trump was the winner. One of the states was Michigan, where State Attorney General Dana Nessel is asking federal prosecutors to investigate the matter, according to the Detroit News.

During her appearance on “The Rachel Maddow Show” this week, Nessel — a Democrat who is part of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration — told Maddow, “Under state law, I think clearly you have forgery of a public record, which is a 14-year offense, and election law forgery, which is a five-year offense.”

When Maddow asked Nessel if this was “potentially a matter for criminal investigation,” the Michigan attorney general replied, “Absolutely it is. And I will tell you that we’ve been evaluating charges for nearly a year now.”

In the United States, the Electoral College is a winner-take-all system for presidential elections. Whoever wins the popular vote in Michigan, for example, gets all 16 of its electoral votes; Biden won Michigan’s popular vote by 3%, which means that all 16 of them went to him. And the bipartisan recounts that were conducted left no doubt that Biden won that midwestern state. But the MAGA Republicans who circulated fake “Electoral College” documents falsely claimed that Trump was the winner in an effort to give Trump the 16 electoral votes that Biden was entitled to under the rules of the Electoral College.

READ: Here's what it would really mean to prosecute Trump

“On December 14, 2020,” the Detroit News’ Craig Mauger explains, “Michigan's 16 presidential electors met inside the state Capitol to officially cast their ballots for Biden. A group of Republicans, including some of the GOP electors, attempted to enter the building, after meeting at party headquarters, but were blocked by the Michigan State Police. According to a December 14, 2020 memorandum obtained by The Detroit News, Kathy Berden, a Republican national committeewoman from Michigan, sent the GOP electors certificate to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. archivist, (Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn) Benson's office and Robert Jonker, the chief judge of U.S. District Court for Michigan's Western District.”

The Detroit News published, with Mauger’s article, a screenshot of a bogus election “certificate” that Michigan Republican circulated in that state. The document claimed to be a “Certificate of the Votes of the 2020 Electors from Michigan” and claimed that Trump had won Michigan’s 16 electoral votes. But as Maddow has stressed on her show this week, those Republicans weren’t legitimately representing the Electoral College in Michigan — and Trump didn’t win the state in 2020.

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