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Nevada GOP leaders subpoenaed by committee investigating Capitol riot

Updated January 28, 2022 - 5:46 pm

A U.S. House committee investigating the violent storming of the nation’s Capitol has subpoenaed two members of the Nevada Republican Party, including the party’s chairman.

The bipartisan committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol is seeking information about a plot to send bogus electoral votes supporting then-President Donald Trump to Washington, D.C., for congressional consideration in the certification of the 2020 election.

The committee chairman, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., sent letters on Friday to Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald and the state party’s national committeeman, Jim DeGraffenreid, notifying the men that the committee was seeking documents and depositions.

Nevada was one of seven states to have illegitimate electors send certificates to Washington. The House committee is also seeking information from alternate electors in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. President Joe Biden won all seven states.

“We believe the individuals we have subpoenaed today have information about how these so-called alternate electors met and who was behind that scheme,” Thompson said in a statement. “We encourage them to cooperate with the Select Committee’s investigation to get answers about January 6th for the American people and help ensure nothing like that day ever happens again.”

The alternate slates stemmed from unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

In the letters to McDonald and DeGraffenreid, the committee said it was “seeking information about your role and participation in the purported slate of electors casting votes for Donald Trump and, to the extent relevant, your role in the events of January 6, 2021.”

McDonald could not immediately be reached for comment. DeGraffenreid did not immediately respond to an email.

In a Nevada Republican Party news release at the time the illegitimate electors gathered, McDonald said “with ongoing challenges and evidence left to be meaningfully investigated,” his slate of electors had to submit votes for the rightful winners and allow Congress to decide.

On the day Congress was set to certify Biden’s win, pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol, delaying the process.

“Obviously I don’t think anybody saw what was going to take place or would ever in their wildest dreams assume that there would be any type of actions where someone would storm the Capitol and disrupt Congress in their votes,” McDonald said last week. “Obviously, that was unforeseen circumstances.”

DeGraffenreid has said there was pending litigation at the time the GOP slate met and that the party needed to “go through those motions” in case the legal challenge was successful.

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, a Democrat, has said the slate of electors was on his office’s radar, but would not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

Democratic attorneys general from New Mexico and Michigan have asked federal prosecutors to investigate electors in their states, The Washington Post has reported.

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Lisa Monaco told CNN this week that the Justice Department had received referrals about the electors and was looking into it. Ford then said in a statement that his office was looking forward “to providing any support we can in that endeavor.”

Despite Republican claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, numerous lawsuits, audits and recounts have failed to show the election was fraudulent in Nevada or elsewhere.

Biden won Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and their 79 Electoral College votes by a combined 311,257 votes out of 25.5 million ballots cast for president. The disputed ballots represent just 0.15 percent of his victory margin in those states.

The fake electors are the latest subpoenaed in the large-scale investigation the committee has been pursuing since it came together last summer. The congressional probe has scrutinized Trump family members and allies, members of Congress and even social media groups accused of perpetuating election misinformation and allowing it to spread rampantly.

The committee plans to move into a more public-facing phase of its work in the next few months. Lawmakers will be holding hearings to document to the American public the most detailed and complete look into the individuals and events that led to the Capitol insurrection.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter. Review-Journal Capital Bureau reporter Bill Dentzer and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Letter to McDonald by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Scribd

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