Revealed: One-time 'liberal' Dem is the 'brains' behind Trump’s 'fake electors'

Revealed: One-time 'liberal' Dem is the 'brains' behind Trump’s 'fake electors'
COLUMBUS, GEORGIA - JUNE 10: Former U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks during the Georgia state GOP convention at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center on June 10, 2023 in Columbus, Georgia. On Friday, former President Trump was indicted by a federal grand jury on 37 felony counts in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s classified documents probe. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images).

United States Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith, Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis, and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel have all filed criminal indictments against individuals involved with a scheme to send slates of fraudulent electors to Washington as part of the alleged conspiracy to keep former President Donald Trump in power after he lost the 2020 election to President Joe Biden. On Wednesday, The Washington Post's Isaac Stanley-Becker revealed that the "brains" behind the clandestine operation, attorney Kenneth Chesebro, "a Harvard-trained lawyer once keen on liberal causes" who "registered as a Democrat as recently as 2016."

While Chesebro "may be the least well known of the small set of figures key to both indictments," Stanley-Becker writes, "his retreat from public" following the January 6th, 2021 insurrection "has deepened the mystery for former classmates and colleagues puzzling over how he became a central player in plans to reverse the outcome of a democratic election."

Having studied under renowned Harvard University Professor Emeritus Laurence Tribe — whom he cited in his recently-publicized memo outlining the fake electors gambit — Chesebro's descent into right-wing politics has left his contemporaries baffled, Stanley-Becker notes. That includes Tribe himself.

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Chesebro "was not making good-faith legal arguments for his client," Tribe said. "He was inventing legal fiction that paid no attention to the law and creating a pretext for a conspiracy to steal an election." He added that "I had the impression that Ken really cared about the underdog, about people who were screwed by the system."

Lawyer Jonathan Massey recalled that Chesebro, who worked on then-Vice President Al Gore's legal challenge to the Supreme Court's decision to award George W. Bush the presidency in 2000 — was "a pretty standard liberal" who "idolized Larry Tribe."

But Chesebro's pro-Trump argument that "any state can submit new electors at any time," Tribe said, was a gross distortion of their work more than two decades ago and "the birth pangs of Trump's plot, as I see it."

Stanley-Becker recalls that Chesebro's partisan affiliations began to shift after he invested a "low six-figure sum" in cryptocurrencies that purportedly netted him a return of "several million dollars."

READ MORE: 'Cliffs Notes' versus 'encyclopedic': Report contrasts Smith’s and Willis’ Trump election indictments

In 2016, Stanley-Becker continues, Chesebro aligned himself with the Claremont Institute, a right-wing think tank, where he would meet attorney John Eastman, who also now finds himself indicted along with Trump, Chesebro, and other accused co-conspirators in Georgia. On November 8th, 2020, Chesebro "urged Trump electors to meet and vote in Wisconsin because of the ongoing recount in that state," Stanley-Becker explains. On December 6th, Chesebro proposed "that Trump electors should convene not just in Wisconsin but in six 'contested States' as a way to 'prevent Biden from amassing 270 electoral votes.'"

That was the crux of the effort to have ex-Vice President Mike Pence "not just open but count the sham votes, creating uncertainty about the election's true victor. In a memo three days later, federal prosecutors charge, Chesebro provided 'instructions on how fraudulent electors could mimic legitimate electors,'" Stanley-Becker adds.

Then, on December 13th, Chesebro "emailed Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani to argue that Pence could choose from among 'conflicting votes' presented to Congress, according to documents released by House investigators and cited in the Georgia indictment," Stanley-Becker states. "Chesebro went on to distribute instructions and draft certificates to the sham electors in the various states, prosecutors allege."

Chesebro, Tribe stressed to Stanley-Becker, was "the brains" and "if the pressure campaign on Pence had worked," he and Eastman "would have generated a successful coup."

READ MORE: 'Hammered by his old friend, RICO': Columnist analyzes Giuliani’s 'bewildering' fall from grace

View Stanley-Becker's analysis at this link (subscription required).

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