WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is investigating false lists of voters who falsely declared Donald J. Trump the winner of the 2020 election in seven swingstates that Joseph R. Biden Jr. had in fact won, a top official said Tuesday.
“Our prosecutors are looking into that and I can’t comment on any pending investigations,” Lisa O. Monaco, the deputy attorney general, said in an interview with DailyExpertNews.
The fake certificates appear to be part of an attempt by Mr Trump’s allies to reverse his defeat in the presidential election. Even when election officials in the seven disputed states sent official lists of voters who voted for Mr. Biden to the electoral college, the false slates claimed that Mr. Trump was the winner in an apparent attempt to undermine the election results.
Lawmakers, state officials and the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots have asked the Justice Department to look into the role of those fake voters and the documents they submitted to the National Archives on Dec. 14, 2020.
In some cases, top Republican Party officials in those seven states signed the false documents, according to copies posted online last March by American Oversight, a nonprofit watchdog group.
“The fake voters were part of the plan to create chaos on Jan. 6 as a pretext for a conditional election,” said Maryland Democrat and committee member Jamie Raskin.
“The false electoral rolls were an attempt to create the illusion of contested state results,” Mr Raskin said. That, he added, would have given Mike Pence, who as vice president chaired Congressional electoral numbers on Jan. 6, “a pretext for unilateral voter rejection.”
In Michigan, Dana Nessel, the attorney general, gave federal prosecutors information about her years of investigation into the case. She has said she believes there is enough evidence to accuse 16 Republicans in her state of filing the false certificates and falsely claiming they were official voters for the state.
And Hector Balderas Jr., the New Mexico Attorney General, and a Wisconsin district attorney also asked the Justice Department to review the case.
If investigators determine that Mr. Trump’s allies have created the false slates to improperly influence the election, they could theoretically be charged with falsifying voting records, mail fraud, or even conspiring to defraud the United States.
It is unclear whether the Republican Party officials and others who submitted the false documents did so alone or at the behest of the Trump campaign.
“The people posing as official voters in states won by Biden were undoubtedly committing fraud with the constitution and democracy,” Mr Raskin said. “It’s a trickier question whether they’re guilty of common law fraud, state statutory fraud, federal mail fraud, or some other criminal offense.”
Luke Broadwater reporting contributed.