Friday, May 17, 2024

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Subpoenas for GOP Reps. Biggs and Gosar Indicate Arizona AG Is Closing in on the Architects of Trump Fake Electors Scheme

Arizona AG Narrows in on Congressional Enablers of Trump's Effort to Nullify 2020 Election Results.

fake electors
Photo: Gage Skidmore

According to reporting by Politico, Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes has subpoenaed two of former President Donald Trump’s closest allies in Congress, Representatives Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ), as part of her ongoing investigation into the fake electors scheme. This move suggests that Mayes expanding her probe, seeking to uncover the full extent of the alleged plot to undermine democracy in Arizona.

Biggs and Gosar, both staunch supporters of Trump, were at the forefront of the efforts to challenge the legitimacy of President Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona. The two congressmen were among the most vocal proponents of the “Stop the Steal” movement, which sought to sow doubt about the integrity of the election and pressure state officials to take action in Trump’s favor.

Evidence gathered by the bipartisan House select committee investigating the January 6th Capitol riot has shed light on the roles played by Biggs and Gosar in the aftermath of the 2020 election. According to text messages obtained by the committee, Biggs wasted no time in contacting Trump’s White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, urging him to push state legislatures to overrule the results in multiple states won by Biden. And according to Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander, it was Biggs, Gosar, and former Alabama congressman Mo Brooks that came up with the Jan. 6 insurrection in the first place. 

Gosar, for his part, has been equally fervent in his support for Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud. He has gone so far as to describe Biden as a “fraudulent usurper” and praise the January 6th rioters as “peaceful patriots.” The New York Times reported in 2021 that Gosar was part of a “band of loyalists” who worked closely with Trump to pressure the Justice Department, amplify conspiracy theories, and flood the courts with lawsuits in an attempt to overturn the election results.

The subpoenas issued to Biggs and Gosar are an unusual move, given the robust constitutional protections enjoyed by members of Congress in criminal proceedings related to their official business. However, they are not the first lawmakers to face scrutiny in the ongoing investigations into Trump’s efforts to subvert the 2020 election. 

In 2022, the FBI seized the phone of Representative Scott Perry (R-PA) as part of the Justice Department’s election-subversion probe, and Georgia prosecutors have fought legal battles to compel testimony from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Representative Jody Hice (R-GA).

The Fake Electors Scheme in Arizona

The Arizona investigation has focused on the actions of the “fake electors,” a group of 11 Republicans who convened at the state GOP headquarters on December 14, 2020 to sign documents falsely claiming they were the state’s rightful electors. This group, which included then-Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward and two Republican lawmakers, was part of a larger effort across seven states won by Biden to submit “dual” sets of electors. The goal of this effort was to enable then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election or throw it into Congress.

The fake elector scheme has already led to criminal charges in three other states—Michigan, Nevada, and Georgia. The fact that Mayes is now subpoenaing Biggs and Gosar suggests that her investigation is not limited to the actions of the fake electors themselves, but is also looking into the broader network of individuals who may have been involved in the plot to undermine democracy in Arizona.

Biggs and Gosar were far from alone in their attempts to subvert the will of the people and install Donald Trump as a dictator, despite his clear electoral defeat. Other prominent Republicans, such as Representatives Scott Perry (R-PA), Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Mo Brooks (R-AL), have also been implicated in the plot to overturn the election results.

Biggs/Gosar
Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs at “AmericaFest”, Photo: Gage Skidmore

A closer examination of the actions taken by these lawmakers in the aftermath of the election reveals a disturbing pattern of behavior that undermines the very foundations of our democracy and raises serious questions about their loyalty to the Constitution and the rule of law.

Evidence gathered by the January 6th Committee and other investigations has shown that these lawmakers were deeply involved in the “Stop the Steal” movement, working behind the scenes to pressure state officials, spread baseless conspiracy theories, and even coordinated with the organizers of the Jan. 6 insurrection. 

That these elected officials were willing to go to such lengths to undermine the democratic process is a betrayal of the trust placed in them by the American people. They took an oath to uphold the Constitution and defend the nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic, yet they actively worked to subvert the very system they were sworn to protect.

Trump’s Scheme Against Democracy

It is becoming increasingly clear that the efforts to overturn the 2020 election were not the actions of a few rogue individuals, but rather a coordinated and widespread campaign that involved multiple members of Congress, Trump administration officials, and Donald Trump himself. This is not a matter of partisan politics; it is a question of whether we as a nation will tolerate traitorous actions by the same people who swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. 

As the criminal charges against Donald Trump continue to mount, it is essential that we do not lose sight of the role played by his enablers in Congress. These lawmakers should not be allowed to escape accountability for their actions simply because they hold positions of power and influence.

Just as Trump is facing the consequences of his attempts to overturn election results, so too should the congressional Republicans who aided and abetted him in this endeavor. They should be thoroughly investigated by the Department of Justice and state attorneys general like Kris Mayes, and if the evidence warrants it, they should face criminal charges for their role in this attack on our democracy.

The American people deserve to know the full extent of the plot to overturn the 2020 election, and they deserve to see those responsible held accountable for their actions. Anything less would be a betrayal of the principles upon which this nation was founded and a dangerous precedent for future attempts to undermine the will of the people.