Figuring prominently is a Phoenix-based attorney who worked with the Trump campaign, Jack Wilenchik.
Wilenchik corresponded with Trump campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn and others on Dec. 8, according to the Times report.
In one email, he outright refers to the electors as “ ‘fake’ electors,” before later suggesting a more palatable phrase would be “alternate” electors.
Many have suggested that this line shows those involved knew these electors were “fake” to begin with. But Wilenchik used the word in quotation marks, perhaps suggesting he was borrowing someone else’s word. But perhaps the more striking development is how he described their purpose.
“We would just be sending in ‘fake’ electoral votes to Pence so that ‘someone’ in Congress can make an objection when they start counting votes, and start arguing that the ‘fake’ votes should be counted,” Wilenchik wrote to Epshteyn. He summarized a proposal by Trump-allied lawyer Kenneth Chesebro as designating the fake electors “so that members of Congress can fight about whether they should be counted on January 6th.”
Chesebro in a Nov. 18 memo had indeed pushed for the fake electors. But he described them as necessary in case of “a court decision (or, perhaps, a state legislative determination) rendered after December 14 in favor of the Trump-Pence slate of electors.” Wilenchik seemed to be skipping over that, and suggesting the fake electors’ mere existence might be enough to throw things into doubt on Jan. 6.
It’s possible Wilenchik, too, viewed that fight as taking place after certain court decisions or state legislative actions. But elsewhere he suggested at least one key figure involved had more secretive ideas: Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward. Wilenchik said in another Dec. 8 email that Ward wanted “to keep it under wraps until Congress counts the vote Jan. 6th (so we can try to ‘surprise’ the Dems and media with it) — I tend to agree with her.” (Ward was subpoenaed last month as part of the federal probe into the fake-elector plot.) The idea was apparently that the slate of fake electors would somehow be kept secret before Jan. 6, and then be sprung on an unsuspecting political world when Congress counted the electoral votes.
Precisely why isn’t clear, but it’s certainly a remarkable plot to overturn democracy.