The New York Times reported Tuesday on a “secret memo” that proposed a way in which the Trump campaign might use “alternate electors” in the event that challenges to the 2020 presidential election results were pending when Congress met on January 6.
The idea was to have a slate of electors available in the event that Vice President Mike Pence rejected the votes of the Electoral College in several states when he presided over the certification in Congress, and returned the decision to the state legislatures.
The memo is being touted by the Times (article here) as a document that “prosecutors are portraying as a crucial link in how the Trump team’s efforts evolved into a criminal conspiracy.” It is unclear how, when, or from whom the Times obtained the memo.
However, the text of the memo itself, composed by lawyer Kenneth Chesebro (said to be unindicted “Co-Conspirator 5” in the indictment of former President Donald Trump by Special Counsel Jack Smith) is merely advisory and does not announce a plan.
Chesebro writes that “I’m not necessarily advising this course of action,” but added that it seemed “feasible,” especially since Democrats had once done something similar, notably in the 1960, when John F. Kennedy used alternate electors in Hawaii.
The lawyer quotes a number of left-wing sources, including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Harvard Law School professor and Democratic adviser Laurence Tribe; CNN contributor Van Jones; and others for reference in defending the strategy in public.
Another lawyer, John Eastman, wrote in a different memo to outline legal and constitutional arguments in favor of the vice president’s ability to object to electors and defer the decision to the House of Representatives or the state legislatures.
Smith’s indictment charges that these legal memos, which present opinions and arguments in advising a client, are part of a conspiracy by Trump “to defraud the U.S,” and his “conspiracy against rights.” The latter crime can carry the death penalty.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.